Surrey Satellite technology Limited (SSTL) and Goonhilly Earth Station (GES), in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), are developing a set of Lunar Mission Support Services (LMSS).
The LMSS partnership aims to develop communications, navigation and operations services for use at the Moon, to support both orbiting and landed lunar assets. In addition, as part of the build-up of this infrastructure, there will be opportunities for transportation of user payloads to lunar space. Services will be available to both public and private sector users, and will utilise international standardised protocols for interoperability and cross-support.
The Pathfinder mission offers users the opportunity to purchase a ‘ticket’ for their small missions and payloads, to be delivered and deployed in-orbit around the Moon, as well as being provided with command and control links and payload data relay in cis-lunar space. The ticket price is £1M/kg (1 million GBP per kg) which includes:
• 1 kg payload mass allocation
• Data relay & navigation allocation
• Launch and transfer to lunar orbit
• Internet-based secure interface for dedicated mission control and data access
• Mission support and partner coordination
Our plan is to take a payload of scientific research nano-satellites as our paying customers into lunar orbit then provide the communications link back to earth. The nano-satellites will use the standard cubesat format and will be provided with a CCSDS-compliant radio communications card which will communicate via the SSTL relay satellite in lunar orbit.