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Israel’s Spacecom to Provide SATCOM Support to MARS Planetary Space Analog Mission With AMOS-7

Artist’s conception of AMOS-7, previously AsiaSat-8. Image courtesy of Space Systems Loral.

Tel Aviv-based satellite communications company Spacecom has announced that it will provide satellite communications to the D-MARS Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station, to take place in the desert of southern Israel.

Using its AMOS-7 satellite, Spacecom will provide space-based connectivity for the mission that involves analog astronauts in a Mars simulated habitat located at the remote Ramon Crater.

AMOS-7 will connect the Mars analog habitat with the mission’s control centre, providing not only communications for the mission but also demonstrating and testing interplanetary space communications, and the challenges associated with maintaining communications between a Mars outpost or colony and Earth.

The D-MARS Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station is designed to simulate the exact conditions that a real-life Mars scientific mission would experience. The analog astronauts operating in these conditions will identify and solve challenges that actual astronauts might face on the Martian surface.

The desert around Ramon Crater has harsh conditions somewhat similar to the Martian surface, with its geology, aridity, and remoteness.

Hillel Rubenstein, the D-MARS project manager, said, “The D-MARS project pulls Israel to the forefront of space, and particularly Mars, exploration. With the AMOS-7 satellite, we are adding an interplanetary-type communications facet to our experiments by simulating various challenges for our analog astronauts to handle and overcome. This is an amazing opportunity, and made even more so by our cooperation with Austria’s OeWF which will be conducting a simultaneous analog experiment in collaboration with ours in Israel.”

“Spacecom is excited by this opportunity to bring our team’s skill sets and expertise to the D-MARS experience. As we look towards the future, it is our duty to nurture the next generation of outer-space specialists and prepare them to engage a new world. AMOS-7 will play an important role in furthering their knowledge of space-based communications,” said David Pollack, President and Chief Executive Officer of Spacecom.

In collaboration with the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF), the D-MARS Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station simulates manned missions to Mars and other planets. Analog astronauts, also known as Ramonauts, live in the habitat as real astronauts would, including work routines, food, and communications that would be expected on Mars.

The D-MARS Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station, located in the Negev desert, aims to position Israel as a leading contributor to manned space exploration, and also provide space education and human capacity building for Israelis.

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