ESA to Unveil Plans for Lunar Satellite Constellation on Thursday

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA is backing a bold proposal to create a commercially viable constellation of satellites around the Moon.

Dozens of international, institutional and commercial teams are planning to send missions to the Moon, envisaging a permanent human lunar presence. Using a shared telecommunications and navigation service would reduce the design complexity of future individual missions and make them lighter, freeing space for more scientific instruments or other cargo, making each individual mission more cost-efficient.

Two consortia of companies will be funded by ESA to devise detailed definitions of how to provide telecommunications and navigation services for missions to the Moon, under the agency’s Moonlight initiative.

Such a lasting lunar link will enable sustainable space exploration.

Watch a press briefing with ESA directors and representatives of Surrey Satellites Technology Ltd, Telespazio, the UK Space Agency and the Italian space agency ASI that will be held on Thursday 20 May 14:00-15:00 CEST [9 a.m. EDT] and streamed live on ESA Web TV.