Credit: ULA

Credit: ULA

A major U.S. launch provider has outlined a plan to enable a cislunar space economy based on their need for propellant and refueling in Earth orbit.

Dubbed the “Cislunar 1000 Vision,” the initiative foresees a self-sustaining economy that supports a 1,000 people living and working in space roughly 30 years from now.

A central element of the plan involves use of a souped-up Centaur rocket stage called ACES, standing for Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage. This liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen upper stage is designed to be reusable and can be refueled, perhaps by propellant made on Earth’s moon or extracted from asteroids.

Credit: ULA

Credit: ULA

The concept stems from an analysis and on-going technical work by United Launch Alliance (ULA), a 50-50 joint venture owned by Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company to provide Atlas and Delta launch services.

A roadmap to attain the Cislunar 1000 Vision was recently detailed at the 7th joint meeting of the Space Resources Roundtable and the Planetary & Terrestrial Mining Sciences Symposium, held June 7-9, 2016 at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.

Go to my new story at:

Inside ULA’s Plan to Have 1,000 People Working in Space by 2045

By Leonard David,’s Space Insider Columnist

June 29, 2016 02:55pm ET

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