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Path set for commercial communication around the moon

ESA’s Moonlight initiative includes satellite positioning system coverage and extended communication links to the Moon. The first stage shows how to use the current satellite positioning signals around the moon. This will be achieved on the Moon Pathfinder satellite in 2024. The main challenge is to overcome the limited shape of satellite positioning signals, all coming from the same part of the sky, along with low signal power. To overcome this limitation, in the second stage, which is the core of the Moonlight system, dedicated lunar navigation satellites and lunar beacons provide additional ranging sources and extended coverage. Credit: ESA-K Oldenburg

The ESA yesterday confirmed the signing of a contract with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), a major customer of the Lunar Pathfinder satellite, which will be launched in 2024 to provide communications services around the moon.


The entire suite Moon exploration The mission is imminent, many with ESA involvement. These include NASA’s Artemis program, commercial lunar modules, Russian Luna 25 and 27 landers, and the future European large lunar module (EL3).

Lunar Pathfinder is the first step towards ESA’s ambitious moonlight vision of creating a network of communications and data relay satellites to serve users around the world. Such satellites can also provide navigation data for lunar exploration, much like we navigate on Earth today using Galileo and GPS.

The other side of the moon and the polar regions are areas of particular interest to space agencies as potential sources of water, fuel and oxygen.Communication relay Hygiene Lunar Pathfinder etc. are required to enable continuous contact between both robots and humans.

“Exploration is about discovering and returning knowledge to Earth. Therefore, the new era of lunar exploration requires robust and fast communications services,” said David Parker, director of human and robotic exploration at ESA. Says. “SSTL’s Lunar Pathfinder service will be available to everyone, enabling low-cost lunar science, technology demonstrations, and commercial exploration. As a leader in lunar exploration, ESA has extensively expanded its service. I plan to use it. “

Phil Brownnett of SSTL said: To provide cost-effective service and navigation data to users around the world. “

The Lunar Pathfinder mission also hosts two separate ESA experiments. The first experiment will test the possibility of placing it on the moon using existing navigation satellites, and the second experiment will use space weather monitors to understand radiation levels around the moon. This is important for human explorers.

In addition, NASA provides a laser retroreflector payload that allows comparison with orbital positioning data from ESA navigation experiments. ESA is also discussing with NASA how the Moon Pathfinder can support a wider moon. expedition program.

The contract was confirmed by David Parker, Director of Human and Robot Exploration at ESA, and Phil Brownnett, Managing Director of SSTL, at the Royal Society of London on September 15, 2021. Also attended were Amanda Solloway, UK Government Science Minister, Joseph Ashbacher, ESA Director, Paul Beit, UK Space Agency Chief Officer, SSTL Executive Chairman Sir Martin Sweeting.


Talk to the Moon: Europe touts moon satellite program


Quote: The path set for commercial communication around the moon (September 17, 2021) is from https: //phys.org/news/2021-09-path-commercial-moon.html September 17, 2021 Obtained on the day.

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