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Lunasonde to Launch Satellite for Subsurface Imaging

Lunasonde
San Xavier satellite. Credit: Lunasonde

Ibadan, 12 December 2023. – Lunasonde has announced the launch timeline for its third satellite to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The San Xavier satellite will fly on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Transporter-11 in the summer of 2024 via launch provider Exolaunch. It is the company’s first on-orbit test of its proprietary very low-frequency radar technological stack capable of detecting subsurface mineral deposits up to two kilometers underground.

Speaking on the announcement, Jeremiah Pate, Lunasonde CEO, said, “We are happy about this next step in our evolution and what this could mean for global environmental factors as well as decreasing mining costs. These technological advancements will allow us to look 15,000 times deeper than current technologies and do so without disturbing precious earth ecosystems.”

Meanwhile, Lunasonde’s most recent launch of their Picacho test satellite and their subsequent engagement with Rogue Space Systems could provide a roadmap for others in the space community when deployment after launch is uncertain. In this case, Lunasonde launched and deployed Picacho, its 1U CubeSat, on November 11, 2023, from a Momentus canister aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Transporter-9 flight.

Lunasonde received telemetry with modulation characteristics that matched Picacho. However, two days after presumed deployment, several external sources identified 39 satellite signals as telemetry signals. Despite the relatively weak telemetry, the satellite’s characteristics and the absence of the benefit of knowing there was an anomaly in the deployment, Lunasonde determined the signals were from Picacho. The company eventually surmised that the only way these signals would be sent would be through the antenna deployment.

To this point, Lunasonde is working with Rogue to communicate with and locate the satellite. Lunasonde believes that how the companies involved handle this situation will be important for the space community if there are similar situations in the future.

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