International Lunar Decade

Build infrastructure in cislunar space and on the Moon to open the space frontier…

The International Lunar Decade (ILD)

ILD is a global decadal event designed to provide a framework for strategically directed international cooperation for permanent return to the Moon.  To be launched July 20, 2019, the 50th anniversary of the giant leap for mankind marked by Neil Armstrong’s first step on the Moon, the ILD launch will include events around the world to celebrate space exploration, science, and the expansion of humanity into the Solar System.

The ILD framework links lunar exploration and space sciences with the development of enabling technologies, infrastructure, means of financing, laws and policies aimed at lowering the costs and risks of venturing into space. Dramatically reduced costs will broaden the range of opportunities available in space and widen access to space for more states, companies and people worldwide. The ILD is intended to bring about the efflorescence of commercial business based on space resources from the Moon, asteroids, comets and other bodies in the Solar System.

Broad international collaboration is key to the potential success of ILD. The International Geophysical Year 1957-58 (IGY), that provided the framework for the launch of the space age, engaged over 60 countries – large and small, developed and emerging – in the first global study of the Earth.   IGY made possible the understanding of climate change and other global physical processes. ILD addresses the creation of permanent operations beyond the Earth. A decade is necessary because space activities are costly, complex and planning is required for multiple interrelated steps. A decade is also sufficient to demonstrate the feasibility of permanent human presence in space by following a roadmap that drives the emergence of a self-sustaining space economy. The demonstration of feasibility of a self-sustaining space economy will be followed by increasing private investment.

Steps to Launch of ILD

The IGY emerged from an idea discussed by several U.S. scientists in 1950 to be endorsed by the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) to become a global event in 1957-58. The ILD idea originated among space scientists about 2004, was endorsed by COSPAR in 2006 but that endorsement did not lead to ILD becoming a global event. The vision of the ILD is ultimately economic and endorsement beyond the scientific community is essential. The ICSU, COSPAR and other international scientific organizations need to be engaged to address the multitude of research questions that arise in understanding the Moon and in developing the capacity for sustainable operations on the Moon and in cislunar space. Endorsement of ILD by COPUOS is a step to engage all states, not just the present space leaders. UNISPACE+50 June, 20-21 2018 is the key forum to issue an International Lunar Decade Declaration as a step to declaration of ILD as a global event by the UN General Assembly in December, 2018. ACTION ITEM – proposal to COPUOS from a group of states that are members including budget and funding plan.

The G20 spanning all major global economies is the leading global forum for financial and economic development issues.  Development of a self-sustaining Solar System economy will be the major economic transformation of the 21st century. It is time to place this on the agenda of the G20.

Resources beyond the Earth vastly exceed what is presently available for human use. The capacity to utilize space resources can enable sustainable development and improvement of the quality of life for people while reducing damage to the Earth’s environment. At present the capacity to utilize space resources does not exist but there is an abundance of ideas how the resources of the Moon, asteroids Mars, and other bodies in the Solar System can be exploited. There are policy, technical and economic barriers to space resource use and to the creation of markets for products produced from space resources. The G20 forum can focus attention on creating sustained financial and political support of the major economies for the development of a self-sustaining space economy over the 2020-2030 ILD decade. Building the foundations for a self-sustaining space economy that enables the utilization of space resources to advance the interests of humanity and to meet the needs of people on Earth. ACTION ITEM – Proposal to G20 including budget and financing plan.

ILD is being designed with roles for established space powers involving organizations such as the International Space Exploration Coordinating Group (ISECG) with the expectation that the present 14 space agencies involved will grow to include all members of the the G20 along with smaller states with a particularly strong interest in space.


2017 – ILD a topic at multiple conferences

2018 – Endorsement of ILD by G20, UNISPACE+50, UN General Assembly

2019 – July 20 – Launch of ILD at many locations involving international organizations, national organizations, research universities, science museums, space businesses, other in New York, Paris, Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, New Delhi, Istanbul, Brussels, London, Mexico City, Canberra, Berlin, Rome, Kiev, Brasilia, Riyadh, Ottawa, Addis Ababa, Jakarta, Abuja, Abu Dhabi, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw, Bucharest, Prague, Athens, and many other cities.

2020-2030 The International Lunar Decade

ILD Implementation

Most ILD activities will take place through existing organizations. Overall governance will be provided by the ILD Council that will report to UN COPUOUS and the G20. The Secretariat of the ILD Council will work with national contact points in each participating country. Activities within each state will be funded through state funding but ILD funding will be available on a competitive basis to advance key ILD objectives.

Coordination and secretariat functions including the annual ILD conference and the national contact point system will require funding. Preliminary estimates can be calculated based on funding for programs like the 2015 International Year of Light.

Achieving identified milestones crucial to meeting the strategic goals of ILD will require funding. If the program could be managed through a central function modeled on the EU Horizon 2020 program, then competitive selection of projects could be made involving experts from around the world. Determining budget allocation will require general agreement on the ILD roadmap with gaps identified. Some gaps could be responded to by national space agencies or programs. Others could engage business, particularly SMEs in competitive tenders. Insofar as many activities in ILD ultimately lead to economic results we can expect most work will be conducted by states and their research organizations and firms. However, some work that involves general infrastructure or capabilities, or the development of standards and policies would benefit all players would be performed by projects funded through competitive tenders.

Coordination and outreach activities. Seminars, workshops, videos, educational materials – preliminary budget estimate $10 million per annum – $100 million over the decade donations sought from governments, foundations, corporations and crowdfunding.

Milestone goals – Designed to engage states with modest space achievements as well as advanced partners. Competitive projects would be structured to promote cooperation among multiple countries as a condition of funding. $1 billion per annum – $10 billion over the decade. National space agencies, ESA and major business would fund own priority projects.

Expected Results by 2030

  • Policies agreed to regarding mining rights and other issues relating to lunar and asteroid mining and industrial production in space agreed to among participating states.
  • The feasibility of a self-sustaining space economy is demonstrated, attracting major private investment to numerous energy, mining, manufacting, construction, engineering, tourism and other proejcts
  • Costs and risks of space activities reduced to the point that lunar and asteroid mining and support services attract private capital to meet growing demand in emerging markets for space products.
  • The idea of permanent human presence beyond the Earth as a step towards Solar System wide civilization gains wide acceptance.
  • Engagement of millions (10? 20? 100?) of people in activities relating to space science and development of the Moon and cislunar space
  • Thousands of SMEs from all COPUOS members engaged in space projects with annual revenue potential exceeding $100 billion by 2040
  • Every developing country engaged in lunar / cislunar related projects either as national initiatives or via universities, research centers and SMEs as partners in consortiums.
  • 100 educational videos produced about lunar development and related science with 10 million views
  • Use of lunar regolith, basalts and other materials in construction, radiation shielding, and other uses.
  • Mining of the Moon and asteroids for water, volatiles, rare earths.
  • Establishment of robotic bases on the Moon (farside, S. Pole (Shackleton?), equator
  • Lunar power utility
  • Lunar governance authority
  • First markets for space resources


International Lunar Decade Working Group
Web –
e-mail – vid.beldavs at

One comment on “The International Lunar Decade (ILD)

  1. Bob Goddard
    February 12, 2017

    I agree entirely. To see how an international Moon base might function – and benefit humanity – read ‘Mother Moon’ –


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