November 25, 2022

Ground network support for the LunIR mission will be provided by KSAT for the Lockheed Martin Lunar Exploration Smallsat – SatNews

KSAT will provide ground network support to the MonIR missions in collaboration with Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems100% subsidiary of Terran Orbital Corporation.

The lunar exploration cubesat hosts a payload developed by Lockheed Martin and will hitchhike with the launch of Nasait is Orion spaceship on the Artemis 1 mission.

KSAT entered into an agreement with Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc..100% subsidiary of Terran Orbital Corporationto provide ground communication services for this mission from KSAT ground stations in Punta Arenas, Chile, Svalbard, the world’s northernmost station, and from Troll Station in Antarctica.

MonIR is a 6U cubesat designed for space travel inside NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on the Artemis I mission. It will be deployed from the rocket’s Orion stage adapter and fly over the Moon to observe the lunar surface and characterize material composition, heat signatures and identify potential future landing sites. The shoebox-sized moon scout houses a one-of-a-kind infrared sensor and a new cryocooler developed by Lockheed Martin. The infrared sensor is unique because it can map the moon day or night.

Complementing Lockheed Martin’s expertise in developing innovative space instruments, Tyvak is responsible for the design, development, construction, integration and mission assurance of LunIR spacecraft. Tyvak will also manage spacecraft mission operations using ground station communication services provided by KSAT.

Artistic representation of the small Lockheed Martin LunIR satellite.

Arnulf KjeldsenEVP, Strategy & Technology at KSAT, said: “Supporting this cubesat lunar mission for Tyvak and prime contractor Lockheed Martin is something we are really excited about. Exploration missions to the Moon and beyond are challenging and we look forward to supporting LunIR on our network. We are continually expanding our global network to meet growing demand as more lunar missions come to fruition through the Artemis program and NASA Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) commercial contracts..”

Terran Orbital is pleased to provide ground-based network support for the LunIR missionsaid the co-founder and CEO of Terran Orbital, Mark Bell. “Small satellites like LunIR are the most cost-effective way to learn more about the Moon – and the challenges and opportunities it could pose for human habitation.

After the lunar flyby, the LunIR spacecraft will continue to collect data to meet NASA’s needs gaps in strategic knowledge (SKG) related to long-duration transit and exploration missions to Mars and beyond. The data collected will help answer questions about the feasibility of human deep space travel.

Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) is a leading provider of terrestrial network services and Earth observation services, connecting space to Earth. KSAT owns and operates a ground station network of polar and mid-latitude stations. The four polar ground stations are located in Tromsø at 69°N, the Svalbard satellite station (SvalSat) at 78°N, the Inuvik station at 68°N and the Antarctic station (TrollSat) at 72°S. The network is made up of more than 260 branches spread over 26 sites around the world and manages more than 75,000 passages per month.

Terran Orbital Corporation is a leading vertically integrated provider of end-to-end satellite solutions. Terran Orbital combines satellite design, production, launch planning, mission operations and in-orbit support to meet the needs of the most demanding military, civilian and commercial customers. Additionally, Terran Orbital is developing the world’s largest and most advanced NextGen Earth observation constellation to provide persistent real-time Earth imagery.