First satnav receiver designed to operate in lunar orbit delivered to satellite maker
The first satnav receiver designed to operate in lunar orbit has been delivered to satellite maker Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd in the UK for integration aboard the Lunar Pathfinder spacecraft.
The complete Navigation payload seen here includes a four helix antenna (left, in the glass box) developed by MDA in Canada, plus the NaviMoon satnav receiver from Swiss company SpacePNT, and the low noise amplifier developed by EECL in the UK, who also undertook the manufacturing and the environmental test campaign for both the satnav receiver and amplifier.
The payload is designed to boost and process faint terrestrial Global Navigation Satellite Signal (GNSS) signals from more than 400 000 km away, harnessing advanced processing and navigation algorithms to fix the spacecraft's position, velocity and timing in lunar orbit in real time.
It is complemented by a lunar Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA) (right), developed by NASA under agreement with ESA, composed of 48 mirrored retro-reflectors that will enable centimeter-scale laser ranging of the spacecraft as it orbits the moon, to authenticate the satnav receiver position fixes during the experiment.
Due to be launched in late 2025, SSTL's Lunar Pathfinder mission will serve as a telecommunications relay satellite for future missions to the moon, to serve assets on both the nearside and farside, orbiting in an 'elliptical lunar frozen orbit' for prolonged coverage over the South Pole—a particular focus for future exploration.
Week in images: 05-09 June 2023
Week in images: 05-09 June 2023
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China launches Lijian-1 Y2 carrier rocket
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