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Esa, Telespazio at the head of a consortium for ‘lunar tlc’


May 20, 2021

First steps also of Europe and Italy towards the new Lunar Econo my, steps that show a strengthening of the role of the national space industries in the programs for the return to our natural satellite. The European Space Agency has in fact entrusted two international consortiums with the objective of carrying out an advanced feasibility study to land on the Moon the satellite communication and positioning services that we use every day on Earth. And ESA has chosen the Italian Telespazio – a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%) – to lead a consortium in the role of large mission integrator. The issue is particularly ‘hot’ given the estimates over the next 10 years which include 80 public and private initiatives dedicated to lunar exploration. The study is part of ESA’s Moonlight initiative, which aims to create financially sustainable Lunar Communications and Navigation Services (Lcns) and related infrastructure for lunar exploration. The second consortium will be led by SSTL, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, both as a service provider of excellence under its own brand of Sstl Lunar and as a manufacturer of satellites. After the study phase, ESA intends to select an operator for the management of the Lcns system and the provision of services. The contract between Telespazio was signed today during a digital event attended by Elodie Viau, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications of Esa, David Parker, Director of Human and Robotics Exploration of Esa, Paul Verhoef, Director of Navigation di Esa, Luigi Pasquali, CEO of Telespazio, and Giorgio Saccoccia, President of the Italian Space Agency. The consortium includes satellite operators Inmarsat and Hispasat, manufacturing companies such as Thales Alenia Space Italia (a 67% joint venture between Thales and 33% Leonardo), Ohb, Mda and Altec and with the involvement of SMEs such as Nanoracks Europe and Argotec, universities and research centers such as See Lab Sda Bocconi and Politecnico di Milano. “There is a lot of Italy in this program, a European and international program led by ESA and which sees the European Space Agency also interact with NASA” because the two space entities “can only collaborate” in the reconquest of the Moon, he stressed. , at the request of Adnkronos, Luigi Pasquali, Coordinator of Leonardo’s Space Activities and Chief Executive Officer of Telespazio, during the press conference on the ESA Moonlight project. The incisive presence of our country is due to the fact that “Italy – explained Pasquali – has decided to be one of the partners of the Artemis lunar program, to have a bilateral relationship between ASI and NASA. given a spatial address which also includes the great vision of pushing us to the Moon and other celestial bodies “. “This Italy is – Pasquali remarked – an Italy certainly made up of the national space industry, with the capabilities of Thales Alenia Space – with and its orbiting infrastructures and its pressurized modules – of Telespazio – and this contract with ESA demonstrates the full capabilities of the company – and of Leonardo – with robotics, cybersecurity, electro-optical sensors and enabling technologies – and also the entire Italian space chain made up of SMEs, startups and the world of universities and research “. “The presence of Italian companies is therefore quite marked”, Pasquali again indicated. “In the year in which it celebrates its sixtieth anniversary, Telespazio is proud to lead, alongside large, small and medium-sized enterprises and academies, a project of such strategic importance for the future of European and world space exploration” commented Luigi Pasquali. The Coordinator of Space Activities of Leonardo and CEO of Telespazio added that “the communication and positioning services will be fundamental to allow women and men a sustainable presence on the Moon and will be able to guarantee positive effects for life on Earth”. The study requested by ESA will define the architecture and the service provision model for the future development of a complete system (end-to-end), which, by leveraging terrestrial infrastructures and space assets such as satellites, is able to guarantee services to the various platforms in orbit around the Moon or on its surface, such as rovers, landers or lunar bases, which will be used in future missions. The proposal of the consortium led by Telespazio therefore responds to ESA’s desire to define an infrastructure capable of supporting the requests and needs of both the global space agencies and the private and commercial companies that, in the not too distant future, will create a real ‘Lunar Economy’. For this reason, Telespazio explained, “the project envisages the creation of different standards and service models for lunar missions based on the analysis of the market in the coming years and the needs of users”. The project will also analyze the possibility of making the Lcns system interoperable with LunaNet, the NASA infrastructure currently under development that will support the Artemis program.

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