SSTL will launch a small satellite into lunar orbit
According to the official SSTL website, British satellite company Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd has received permission to manufacture a telecommunications space platform that will support lunar missions.
The project is called Lunar Pathfinder, and its small satellite launch is scheduled for the end of 2022.
A platform weighing around 300 kg will operate in an elliptical orbit, ensuring constant visibility of the Moon’s southern hemisphere. It will connect all objects located on the lunar surface with nearby spacecraft and stations on Earth.
The Lunar Pathfinder mission became possible thanks to a funding program approved by the Council of the European Space Agency (ESA) in November 2019 in Seville. According to this program, the British Space Agency will annually invest 374 million pounds in ESA for the implementation of international space programs over the next five years.
Nelly Offord Harley, a Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd intelligence business manager, states that Lunar Pathfinder will test the viability of the commercial telecommunications market on the Moon. This program has the potential to become one of the critical components of future lunar missions.
SSTL Telecommunications Satellite Will Support Artemis Mission
In March 2019, US President Donald Trump initiated the launch of NASA’s new moon exploration mission Artemis. This mission is a logical continuation of the Apollo space program, valid from 1961 to 1975. The main goal of the Artemis mission is the creation of an inhabited lunar base and a subsequent spacecraft launch to Mars.
Artemis is the result of a collaboration between American private companies, the European Space Agency, and Japan. The first flight of Artemis 1 should take place later this year. Crewless spacecraft will spend 25 days in the Lunar orbit, at a distance of 60,000 km from Earth. Orion spaceship by American company Lockheed Martin has already passed three successful tests and is now approved for the Artemis mission.