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ispace-U.S Launch Data Relay Service Using Two Relay Satellites

ispace’s APEX 1.0 lunar lander depicted on the lunar surface. Credit: ispace

Ibadan, 26 April 2024. – ispace technologies U.S., inc. (ispace-U.S.) has announced the official launch of a new data relay service enabled by two relay satellites that will tentatively deploy during ispace-U.S.’s Mission 3 in 2026. SpaceX will also be tentatively providing the launch service. ispace-U.S. released the details for the relay service at the Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium 2024 Spring Meeting, which the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory hosted.

The two lunar relay satellites will enable communications to and from the Earth, and the APEX 1.0 lunar lander which will touch down in the Schrödinger Basin on the Lunar Far Side, a large impact crater near the Moon’s South Pole. ispace designed the lander to support the Draper-led Commercial Lunar Payload Services Task Order CP-12 by delivering NASA payloads to the lunar surface for scientific investigations. The APEX 1.0 lunar lander will consequently deploy the relay satellites into lunar orbit prior to landing.

Furthermore, at the conclusion of the scientific investigations, the satellites will circularize into a High Circular Polar Orbit (HCPO) with near-global coverage with linger points at the polar regions. For Lunar South Pole landing sites, both relay satellites will tentatively offer more than 70 per cent simultaneous visibility of the lunar surface and the Earth, providing potential data service users with a significant opportunity to utilize such data.

ispace-U.S. is currently in discussion with companies and organizations for payload transportation services to be provided on the APEX 1.0 lunar lander for Mission 3. As a result, ispace-U.S. is engaging in conversations with potential customers who may wish to utilize the relay satellite’s capability for a variety of purposes, such as technology demonstrations, including potential alternative Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) services.

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