062 - Lunar surface PNT Beacon demonstrator

062 - Lunar surface PNT Beacon demonstrator


In line with Phase 3 of the reference Roadmap for Lunar PNT service provision (ESA/PB-NAV(2020)9) and in complement to the development of a LCNS navigation payload Elegant Breadboard proposed above as activity NAVISP-El1-061, there is technical consensus on the importance to implement pre-developments of the most critical associated PNT technologies.

A PNT beacon transmitter/reference station could complement future Lunar Communication and Navigation satellites, providing additional ranging sources (from the Moon surface) and supporting their accurate orbit determination as well as potential to provide localised relative positioning and support to selenodetic/scientific applications.

This Moon PNT beacon element may in turn become an essential subsystem of the future LCNS system, providing a major support to future lunar PNT users (e.g. moon landing/ascent and moon surface operations).

The objectives of the activity are to:

  • develop an Elegant Breadboard (EBB) including all functionalities of the PNT Moon beacon equipment identified as critical;
  • provide a good understanding of the critical functionalities associated to this development (e.g. energy sources/autonomy, antenna technologies and associated surveying techniques, signal generation chain and transmission power needs, reception capabilities and functionalities);
  • assess associated mass/power/thermal/size/environmental and interface requirements;
  • confirm the expected functional/performance contributions of the Lunar PNT Beacon subsystem within the planned LCNS System.

The tasks to be performed include:

  • review of LCNS system functional and operational concept and preliminary identification of the functional and implementation constraints linked to the PNT Moon surface beacon equipment and its transportation/deployment options;
  • detailed identification of PNT Moon surface beacon/reference station functionalities within LCNS System and identification and preliminary assessment of the critical technologies needed;
  • derivation of the PNT Moon surface Beacon and reference station requirements;
  • full implementation (in form of EBB) of the critical radio navigation functions of a PNT Moon surface beacon and reference station equipment;
  • testing and validation of the EBB of the PNT Moon surface beacon equipment;
  • definition of the Design, Development and Validation Plan (DDVP) leading up to PNT Moon surface beacon/reference station flight unit and associated recommendations applicable to the LCNS System study.

The main results of study will provide:

  • a tested and qualified representative EBB of a generic PNT Moon surface beacon/reference station (as a critical pre-development subsystem of future LCNS);
  • definition of a DDVP leading to a future PNT Moon surface beacon/reference station Flight Model;
  • associated lessons learned and recommendations for the benefit of the LCNS system study.