ESA Invites Space Firms To Create Lunar Services

ESA is inviting private space companies in Europe and Canada to create a shared commercial telecommunication and navigation service for lunar missions by putting a constellation of satellites around the Moon.

Some 250 missions to the Moon are due to launch over the next decade alone, according to market analysists Northern Sky Research, which the company predicts will activate a euro 100 billion lunar economy, creating jobs and prosperity on Earth.

ESA will either lead or be an international partner in many of these lunar missions - robotic and crewed - including those that envisage a permanent lunar presence. Creating a shared telecommunications and navigation service for these missions would reduce design complexity and make them lighter and more cost efficient.

Under its Moonlight programme, ESA is inviting space companies to create these lunar services.

By acting as an anchor customer, ESA is enabling space companies involved in Moonlight to create a telecommunication and navigation service for the agency, while being free to sell lunar services and solutions to other agencies and commercial ventures.

Once Moonlight is in place, companies could create new applications in areas such as education, media and entertainment - as well as inspiring young people to study science, technology, engineering and maths, which creates a highly qualified future workforce.

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