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Thread: Militarily strategic Lagrange points

  1. #1
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    Question Militarily strategic Lagrange points

    Why arent lagrange points considered to have a strategic military value?

    What happens if China put a space station between earth and the moon before nasa? Could they make travel and exploitation of the moon difficult given that they were banned from the iss. Surely if they occupy this point they can prevent any access to the moon allowing them an almost limitless advantage in manufacturing In space, making cheap satellites, and exploiting the wider solar system?

  2. #2
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    Welcome to CQ Museholic

    Let's keep this discussion on orbital mechanics and not get into discussions of the military strategies of specific nations.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Museholic View Post
    Why arent lagrange points considered to have a strategic military value?
    Welcome to the board, Museholic.

    Short answer: Because space is big. The Moon is roughly 250,000 miles from Earth. L3 is on the other side of Earth from the Moon. L4 and L5 are as far from the Moon as they are the Earth. L1 is on the nearside of the Moon, L2 on the farside. L1 and L2 are very roughly around 40,000 miles from the Moon.

    Spacecraft actually going to the Moon donít need to get anywhere near the Lagrange points. If someone were to try to intercept them, with tens or hundreds of thousands of miles (or kilometers) to deal with, there would be quite a bit of time for target spacecraft to adjust trajectory. Actually, if someone were to place some kind of military station at a Lagrange point, they could well be the easier target, since their location would be better defined. And if anyone starts pulling something like that, donít for a second expect it would remain one sided.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Short answer: Because space is big.
    Ditto. Each "point" is actually a considerable volume of space within which any vessel or satellite would be able to maneuver along any one of millions or billions of vectors, as long as they have the delta-V to spare. And those spaces are in fixed orbital positions, requiring a deliberate effort to come to rest inside one instead of whizzing through it or past it at speeds that would make a bullet weep.
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  5. #5
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    Another consideration is that spacecraft in orbit around L1 don't go anywhere near L1, either. If you could see their orbits plotted in the sky, they'd form loops many times the apparent diameter of the moon. Perpetual station-keeping at L1 is very expensive, in terms of delta-V, compared to tweaking a wide quasi-stable orbit.

    Grant Hutchison

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