NASA Moon Mission set to break record in navigation signal test
As the Artemis missions journey to the Moon and NASA plans for the long voyage to Mars, new navigation capabilities will be key to science, discovery, and human exploration.
Through NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, Firefly Aerospace of Cedar Park, Texas, will deliver an experimental payload to the Moon’s Mare Crisium basin. NASA’s Lunar GNSS Receiver Experiment (LuGRE) payload will test a powerful new lunar navigation capability using Earth’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals at the Moon for the first time. GNSS refers to satellite constellations commonly used for position, navigation, and timing services on Earth. GPS — the GNSS constellation operated by the U.S. Space Force — is the one many Americans are familiar with and use on a daily basis.
LuGRE — developed in partnership with the Italian Space Agency (ASI) – will receive signals from both GPS and the European GNSS constellation, Galileo, and use them to calculate the first-ever GNSS location fixes in transit to the Moon and on the lunar surface.
The LuGRE mission will use a specialized weak-signal receiver developed by Qascom, an Italian company specializing in space cybersecurity and satellite navigation security solutions, and funded by ASI.