The communication between Earth and the Moon is a 239,000-mile task, and Intuitive Machines (IM) is developing this cislunar economic opportunity. IM selected a York Space Systems S-Class satellite with a lunar communications payload to launch on the company’s upcoming IM-2 lunar South Pole mission, scheduled for late 2022. The satellite will orbit the Moon to provide comms in the same manner that a satellite orbiting the Earth communicates with ground stations.
“Establishing the first node in a lunar communication and navigation network is the key to unlocking the next economic frontier, the cislunar economy,” said IM President and CEO Steve Altemus. “We are in a phenomenal position to deliver payloads to lunar orbit with each of our surface missions,” said Altemus. “With an annual launch cadence, we’re able to establish the first lunar communications satellite and return reliably to finish the entire network around the Moon.”
“We are excited Intuitive Machines selected York to enable their history-making lunar South Pole mission,” said Melanie Preisser, Vice President, National Systems at York Space Systems. “Our enhanced manufacturing capacity, now fully operational with a flight-proven supply chain, ensures we can meet Intuitive Machines’ rapid deployment timelines for this lunar mission.”
Intuitive Machines’ second mission to the Moon will set the stage for future robotic exploration and will be the first spacecraft to ever land on the lunar South Pole. After sticking the landing, IM’s spacecraft, Nova-C, will become the first to drill for lunar ice and deploy a rover to demonstrate 4G LTE communication on the lunar surface. During surface operations, IM’s μNova will demonstrate extreme lunar mobility and will be the first spacecraft to explore the deep craters on the Moon’s surface.