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ESA Awards Study For Lunar Satellite Communications And Navigation

The European Space Agency (ESA) has issued contracts for two European groups to compete in developing concepts of lunar satellite systems that would provide communications and navigation services.

(Lunar comm and nav concept from SSTL)

ESA announced the awards May 20 to two consortia, one led by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) and the other by Telespazio, to begin studies for the agency’s Moonlight initiative, which proposes to place a network of spacecraft around the moon to support human and robotic exploration there.

Those satellite constellations would ultimately be available to both government and commercial lunar missions, potentially as a commercial service. Such a network, ESA officials said, could make lunar missions easier and less expensive to develop.

“The value proposition is, if you have an interest in putting a device on the moon, you can offload a lot of your current navigation subsystem equipment,” said Paul Verhoef, ESA’s director of navigation, during a media briefing about the awards. “This weight and this volume can then be used to put additional instruments on your lander and bring that to the moon. On the other hand, the savings you have from the cost of that would be used to pay for the navigation service.”

(Via Spacenews)

I'm wondering if either of the European groups will propose using quantum entanglement to get to instantaneous communication, as in the quantum communication hub described in Defeated, a 2004 story by Sean McKee:

In order to maintain an active communication link across the 430 light years that would soon separate the probes from their creators, they were fitted with standard communications hardware that linked them with the ICP’s Quantum Communications Hub...

This clever arrangement enabled each starship, probe, mining platform, and colony to experience clear, real-time communication from anywhere within the Solar System.
(Read more about quantum communication hub)

Golden Age science fiction writers P. Schuyler Miller and Dennis McDermott described what the ESA hopes to accomplish in their 1932 story The Duel on the Asteroid:

He twirled the dials, set them to the frequency range of space-communication, threw in the amplifiers. Messages drifted in - from liners and freighters, from police-ships, from yachts of space - all the usual ether-traffic of the System.

(Read more about ether-traffic)

If this topic interests you, you might also want to read this article on the Mobile Satellite Ventures Hybrid Satellite Network, to have an extraterrestrial communications system to support ground-level operations on different planets.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/17/2021)

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