The frequency of missions to the Moon from both public and commercial organisations is continuing to increase as the potential economic value of Earth’s only natural satellite matures and becomes more widely accepted.
Lunar Pathfinder is planned for launch in late 2023 and will be the first dedicated system to provide a commercial service for relaying communications between a myriad of Lunar assets and the Earth. This significant and innovative service will dramatically improve the value and outcomes from all types of missions as it will provide unprecedented flexibility and eliminate current data transfer restraints.
QinetiQ is the most experienced proximity link communications specialist in Europe and has played a key role in four Mars missions to date; our heritage has been built on MELACOM (nearly in its third decade of operation), Beagle 2, ExoMars (Schiaparelli) and ExoMars (Rosalind Franklin Rover and Kazachok Lander) missions. Read more here.
Lunar Pathfinder will feature QinetiQ’s Lunar Link Transponder – a strong performing, low risk solution that will not only fulfil the spacecraft’s target objectives and future user/customer requirements, but also provide repeatable technology for future lunar constellations. The system will enable SSTL’s Lunar Pathfinder satellite to provide a communication service for organisations (‘users’) keen to land on or orbit around the moon to undertake exploration and scientific studies and will prove invaluable for all types of lunar asset – including cubesats, robotic landers and rovers.
QinetiQ is also developing a communication solution for users of the Lunar Pathfinder service that would be embedded within the user’s lunar asset and enable data exchange between the asset and Lunar Pathfinder satellite (for subsequent relay back to earth).
You can find out more about the Lunar Pathfinder mission builder here: Lunar Mission Services from SSTL | SSTL.
Lunar Pathfinder 2020
Lunar Pathfinder is a single spacecraft in lunar orbit, offering communication services to any lunar asset (surface or orbiter).
Download the Lunar Link Transponder summary