The European Space Agency (ESA) has issued a call for ideas for creating a network of lunar telecommunications and navigation satellites. The Moonlight initiative would allow dozens of planned lunar missions to share the same infrastructure to communicate with Earth and find their way to the lunar surface, according to an ESA press release republished in GPS World.
Two consortia of companies have completed their concept reviews, which set out their business and technical analysis of a lunar network. The next step will defining a detailed system architecture and identifying the most suitable partnership models between private space companies and ESA.
One consortium headed by Telespazio includes private manufacturing and engineering companies, universities and research centers and startups.
A second consortium headed by Surry Satellite Technology Limited includes satellite manufacturer Airbus, a satellite network providers, a satellite navigation cmopanies, and the goonhilly Earth Station, a UK-based radio communication station..
The Air Force Small Business Innovation Research program is soliciting proposals so support operations beyond geosynchronous Earth orbit. Cislunar operations is one of three space-focus areas in a pre-solicitation notice released Dec. 10 by the Air Force technology accelerator known as AFWERX.
Space News reports that the Air Force wants: payloads for providing space domain awareness from the lunar surface, lightweight sensors for space-based space domain awareness; methodologies for orbit determination and catalog maintenance in cislunar space; concepts for providing position, navigatiion and timing solutions for cislunar space operations; visualization of cislulnar orbits; and terrestrial-based concepts for achieving space domain awareness of cislunar space.