NASA has awarded contracts to SpaceLink and the U.S. arm of Kongsberg Satellite Services to conduct studies aimed at exploring industry capabilities to provide commercial direct-to-Earth and lunar space relay communications and navigation services in support of Artemis lunar exploration missions.
“All missions need communications and navigation services to send data back to Earth. These capability studies and demonstrations will highlight networking efficiencies and inform future planning for NASA missions,” said Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate.
The vendors will help NASA understand the challenges related to integrating optical communications ground terminals into the Near Space Network, investigate advancements in radio frequency compatibility testing and explore developments associated with software-defined radios and cloud computing and their integration with the Near Space Network architecture.
The Near Space Network is one of the two networks being managed by NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation program through the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and supports missions within 2 kilometers of Earth.