The satellite, named Lunar Pathfinder, will be vital for the planned return missions to the Moon. Built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) and supported by 11.6 million pounds in UK Space Agency funding via the European Space Agency (ESA), the satellite will also allow greater freedom for rovers operating on the far side of the Moon, allowing them to manoeuvre out of sight of their lander.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: "Surrey Satellite Technology has taken Britain's expertise in navigation and telecommunications to the next level. Having already delivered state-of-the-art communications services to the International Space Station, UK technology will now help sustainable return to the Moon for the first time in nearly 50 years.
"By investing in our space sector, including 11.6m pounds today for the Lunar Pathfinder satellite, we are helping UK companies to support major international missions, firmly securing our place as a world-leading space nation.
Due to the proximity of the Lunar Pathfinder spacecraft to Earth, the service will also facilitate missions on the near side of the Moon, providing customers with faster transfers of data while keeping their costs down.
In May 2021, the UK Space Agency announced that SSTL, along with Inmarsat and MDA UK, had been selected to lead a study under ESA's Moonlight initiative. The study set out the infrastructure required for the consortium to deliver a constellation of Lunar communication and navigation satellites.
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NASA selects five US companies to mature Artemis Lander concepts
Washington DC (SPX) Sep 15, 2021
NASA has selected five U.S. companies to help the agency enable a steady pace of crewed trips to the lunar surface under the agency's Artemis program. These companies will make advancements toward sustainable human landing system concepts, conduct risk-reduction activities, and provide feedback on NASA's requirements to cultivate industry capabilities for crewed lunar landing missions. The awards under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2) Appendix N broad agency an ... read more