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US military could have lunar base by 2030 – congressman

Rep. Ken Calvert has said the facility would be a response to China’s alleged push to militarize space

The US military could build a lunar base within a few years, a senior Republican lawmaker has predicted, while accusing Russia and China of a deliberate effort to turn space into a new battleground with the West.  

Speaking at the Hill & Valley Forum on AI Security last week, Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), who leads the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, described space as a new “high ground” in the rivalry among great powers, explaining that the US military relies heavily on its satellite networks to facilitate targeting and other operations.  

“Ultimately, we need to be sure we’re leading in that,” he said, voicing strong concern about Russia’s reported plans to place nuclear weapons in space and accusing Moscow of “basically [trying to] blackmail against the world if something happens that they don’t agree to.”  

Moscow has vehemently rejected claims it is planning to deploy nuclear weapons in space, describing such allegations as a hoax concocted by the White House to secure more funding for Ukraine.  

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Roscosmos chief Yury Borisov at a July 2023 forum in St. Petersburg.
Russia and China consider putting nuclear plant on Moon – Roscosmos

Asked what the US is doing to win the new space race, Calvert recalled that NASA has a plan to return to the moon in 2025 or 2026, but said he suspects the agency will likely fall behind schedule. Meanwhile, the lawmaker predicted that the US military would also play an active role in securing a foothold beyond Earth.  

“Space Force will be actively involved in, I think, in going to the moon at some point and that discussion is ongoing… “Obviously, China is probably going to militarize the moon, I have no doubt, so I suspect we will have a base on the moon also … maybe by the end of this decade,” he said.  

Beijing has insisted that it strives only for peaceful use of space while accusing the US of trying to hype up the “China threat” narrative merely to justify turning the domain into a battlefield.  

Russia and China have in recent years intensified space cooperation and are jointly leading the efforts to build the International Lunar Research Station. The project, which is open to other countries, is expected to be completed in the early 2030s.

May 07, 2024 at 07:58PM

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