Telespazio at Head of ESA Consortium to Study Communication and Navigation Services for the Moon

  • The international consortium includes satellite operators, manufacturing and service companies, SMEs, universities and research centres
  • The services will rely on satellites and terrestrial stations to support space exploration and the development of the “Lunar Economy”
  • “Communications and positioning are essential for the sustainable presence of men and women on the Moon and for beneficial effects on life on Earth,” says CEO Luigi Pasquali

ROME (Telespazio PR) — Leveraging on the satellite communication and navigation services that are common on Earth, European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded a contract to a consortium led by Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%), in the role of large mission integrator, to study how to design an equivalent infrastructure and service around the Moon.

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New Government Funding Helps UK Companies Lead the Way for Future Moon Missions

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — UK companies are developing new communication and navigation services needed for future missions to the Moon, thanks to funding from the UK Space Agency

In what will be the world’s first commercial servicing of its kind, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), Inmarsat and MDA UK are among those who won contracts with the European Space Agency (ESA), worth just over £2 million in total, to shape the infrastructure for future lunar exploration.

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SSTL Lunar to Lead Consortium for ESA Moonlight

GUILDFORD, UK (Surrey Satellite PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to lead a Phase A/B1 Study under ESA’s Moonlight initiative that will shape the service provision and infrastructure to provide sustainable commercial Lunar data-relay services for communication and navigation around the Moon.

The Moonlight Phase A/B1 Study will define the service infrastructure and clearly lay out the development path for a constellation of Lunar communication and navigation satellites. The Study will characterise the complete end to end system, including the Lunar Space Segment, the Moon Surface Segment, the Lunar User Segment and the Earth Ground Segment.

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ESA Advances its Plan for Satellites Around the Moon

PARIS (ESA PR) — A bold proposal to create a commercially viable constellation of lunar satellites has taken a step closer.

Two consortia of companies will be supported by ESA to devise detailed definitions of how to provide telecommunications and navigation services for missions to the Moon, under the agency’s Moonlight initiative.

Such a lasting lunar link will enable sustainable space exploration.

ESA is going to the Moon together with its international partners including NASA.

Dozens of international, institutional and commercial teams are sending missions to the Moon that envisage a permanent lunar presence. These will become regular trips to Earth’s natural satellite rather than one-off expeditions

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ESA Unveils Moonlight Initiative to Develop Lunar Communications & Navigation Satellites

PARIS (ESA PR) — As international teams across the world forge plans to revisit the Moon, ESA is elaborating how best to facilitate this exploration.

As part of its Moonlight initiative, the agency is encouraging European space companies to put a constellation of telecommunications and navigation satellites around the Moon.

To succeed, the proposed lunar missions will require reliable navigation and telecommunication capabilities. Building these independently would be costly, complex and inefficient.

If this work were outsourced to a consortium of space companies, each individual mission would become more cost-efficient.

Having one system dedicated to lunar telecommunications and navigation could reduce design complexity, liberating missions to concentrate on their core activities.

Because missions could rely on this dedicated telecommunications and navigation service, they would be lighter. This would make space for more scientific instruments or other cargo.

An accurate and reliable telecommunications and navigation service would enable missions to land wherever they wanted. Radio astronomers could set up observatories on the far side of the Moon.

Rovers could trundle over the lunar surface more speedily. It could even enable the teleoperation of rovers and other equipment from Earth.

Finally, lowering the ticket price to lunar exploration could empower a wider group of ESA member states to launch their own national lunar missions. Even on a relatively low budget, an emerging space nation would be able to send a scientific cubesat mission to the Moon, inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

ESA to Unveil Plans for Lunar Satellite Constellation on Thursday

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA is backing a bold proposal to create a commercially viable constellation of satellites around the Moon.

Dozens of international, institutional and commercial teams are planning to send missions to the Moon, envisaging a permanent human lunar presence. Using a shared telecommunications and navigation service would reduce the design complexity of future individual missions and make them lighter, freeing space for more scientific instruments or other cargo, making each individual mission more cost-efficient.

Two consortia of companies will be funded by ESA to devise detailed definitions of how to provide telecommunications and navigation services for missions to the Moon, under the agency’s Moonlight initiative.

Such a lasting lunar link will enable sustainable space exploration.

Watch a press briefing with ESA directors and representatives of Surrey Satellites Technology Ltd, Telespazio, the UK Space Agency and the Italian space agency ASI that will be held on Thursday 20 May 14:00-15:00 CEST [9 a.m. EDT] and streamed live on ESA Web TV.

ESA Plans Mission to Explore Lunar Caves

Three images of the Marius Hills pit imaged by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. This pit is about 34 metres deep and 65 by 90 metres wide. Marius Hills and other pits may be ‘skylights’ into extensive lava tubes. (Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

PARIS (ESA PR) — In a first step towards uncovering the Moon’s subterranean secrets, in 2019 we asked for your ideas to detect, map and explore lunar caves. Five ideas were selected to be studied in more detail, each addressing different phases of a potential mission.

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