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ispace-US and RSA Sign Payload Services Agreement

HAKUTO-R. Credit: ispace

Ibadan, 11 March 2024. – ispace Technologies U.S., inc. (ispace-U.S.) has signed a payload services agreement with Rhea Space Activity (RSA) to deliver autonomous guidance and navigation technology to lunar orbit aboard ispace-U.S.’s Mission 3 scheduled for 2026. The agreement will consequently foster collaboration to test RSA’s Jervis Autonomy Module (JAM), a novel autonomous navigation technology which recently received funding through a grant from NASA’s TechFlights Program.

Based on the agreement, ispace-US will host two of RSA’s JAM modules on two separate communications satellites in lunar orbit that will communicate with the Apex 1.0 Lunar Lander. Furthermore, RSA’s JAM modules will fly in conjunction with ispace-U.S.’s contribution to the Draper-led Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative in 2026.

The CLPS initiative will land in the Schrödinger Basin, a large impact crater near the Moon’s South Pole. The flight will thus deliver multiple payloads of scientific equipment to measure the Moon’s seismic and thermomechanical activity and capture details about the magnetic field, electrical activity, heat flow and surface weathering.

JAM provides a spacecraft with autonomous guidance and navigation, allowing it to determine its orbit in space from images of celestial objects rather than contacting other satellites or ground stations on Earth. JAM can also tell the spacecraft its location by taking as little as a few pictures of the Moon, planets, comets, asteroids, or other satellites every twelve hours to accurately continue autonomous navigation.

Speaking on the collaboration, Ron Garan, Chief Executive Officer, ispace Technologies U.S, said, “The collaboration between RSA and ispace-U.S. marks the first commercial rideshare for our series of upcoming lunar missions. We look forward to hosting additional commercial payloads on future missions to bolster the U.S. commercial industry’s expansion to the moon.”

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