Mission Control teams up with Astrobotic for Lunar Rover demonstration mission

Collaboration propels Lunar Rover mission to Lunar South Pole

Defence & Aerospace

April 9, 2024

/ By / Paris

Mission Control teams up with Astrobotic for Lunar Rover demonstration mission

Astrobotic is scheduled to launch its Griffin lunar lander in the fourth quarter of 2024

Mission Control and Astrobotic are partnering for a joint rover demonstration mission on the Moon.

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Space firms Astrobotic and Mission Control have partnered to integrate Astrobiotic CubeRover with Mission Control’s Spacefarer operations platform so that it will travel to the Lunar South Pole on Astrobotic’s first upcoming Griffin lander mission.

According to a press statement, Astrobotic’s CubeRover is a scalable rover designed to traverse multiple km across planetary bodies and can accommodate a vast variety of payloads. Mission Control’s Spacefarer software platform will integrate with the shoebox-sized CubeRover to demonstrate the commanding and monitoring of a lunar rover in real-time.

Spacefarer was developed with backing from the CSA’s Space Technology Development programme. It commands and controls diverse robotics and advanced payloads, offering intuitive web-based operations, user-friendly interfaces, and robust cloud architecture for flexible operation anytime, anywhere.

The statement adds that this demonstration mission has received support from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) through their Lunar Exploration Accelerator Programme (LEAP). This crucial contribution facilitates partnerships between Canadian and American firms, spearheading lunar exploration efforts, the statement adds.

Astrobotic is scheduled to launch its Griffin lunar lander in the fourth quarter of 2024 making this one of the first in a wave of commercial missions to the Moon.

Samara Pillay

“We are delighted to form this partnership with Astrobotic who are among the forerunners driving the creation of a new lunar economy. Their trust in licencing our Spacefarer operations platform for three years is an important validation of our value proposition to customers and we look forward to supporting them on many missions to come with this mission-critical technology,” says Samara Pillay, Vice-President of AI & Space Products at Mission Control.

“CubeRover’s development has been backed by USD 20 million plus in NASA awards and decades of experience. Because it has been engineered alongside Astrobotic’s lunar landers, CubeRover can achieve long-range communications and traverse multiple km across the Moon’s surface. We’re pleased to have Spacefarer aboard this first mission to provide them with as much operations data as possible,” says Mike Provenzano, Astrobotic’s Vice President, Advanced Development Programmes.

Mike Provenzano

Mike Provenzano

“Having been the first Canadian-owned company to participate in a real lunar rover mission, we are thrilled to remain in our leadership position when it comes to lunar rover missions. For decades Canada has been an international leader in space robotics and maintaining that position will require a continued expansion of the Canadian industrial base to support what is expected to be a rapidly growing lunar economy,” says Ewan Reid, Founder & CEO of Mission Control.

“This international partnership exemplifies the benefits of a commercial approach to lunar exploration and a validation of the emerging cis-lunar economy, NASA’s commercial Lunar payload services initiative and LEAP are putting North American firms at the forefront of humanity’s return to the Moon,” says Provenzano.

Ewan Reid

Astrobotic says it develops key technologies for space exploration, including lunar rovers, landers, and infrastructure, and spacecraft navigation, machine vision, and computing systems for in-space robotic applications. So far, it has won contracts for two lunar missions and over 60 other contracts from NASA and United States Department of Defense for over USD 600 million.

Mission Control says it empowers explorers by innovating to make advanced software viable for use in space. Using its products, Spacefarer and Spacefarer AI, customers can simplify mission development and operations while unlocking the potential of new scientific and commercial opportunities on the Earth, Moon, Mars, and beyond.



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