London, 9 March 2023.- Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT), a Norwegian-based company, has been contracted by Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), home to the UAE National Space Programme, to provide direct communication between the Moon and the Earth. The Emirati Lunar Mission (ELM) Rashid rover will communicate with KSAT’s Svalsat ground station located on the island of Svalbard.
KSAT owns and operates a Ground Station Network of both polar and mid-latitude stations. The four polar ground stations are located in Tromsø at 69°N, Svalbard Satellite Station (SvalSat) at 78°N Inuvik Station at 68°N and the Antarctic station (TrollSat) at 72°S. The network consists of more than 270 antennas located at 26 sites world-wide. Svalsat is one of several locations worldwide that are part of KSATLunar, the reference global network for Lunar missions. The Svalsat station can provide continuous 24/7 visibility for Lunar missions for 2 weeks each month.
“We are excited about the opportunity to support our friends from MBRSC KSAT,” says Rolf Skatteboe, CEO of KSAT. “We have a long-standing partnership over more than a decade, providing communications to several of their satellites and they are hosting a KSAT antenna at their site in Dubai. The MBRSC has done an incredible job with their ELM Rashid rover, and we look forward to supporting them by Connecting Space and Earth”.
The ELM Rashid rover is currently on its way to the Moon onboard ispace’s Hakuto-R spacecraft. It is expected to land in late April. After landing, the Rashid rover will exit the lander to perform exploration science. It will communicate with Earth via link with the lander, but will also have direct-to-Earth communications capability. To complement MBRSC’s own antenna, the Rashid rover will use the largest antennas at Svalbard.