Sat. May 21st, 2022

Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Together with Artemis, NASA will establish a long-term presence on the Moon, enabling more exploration of the Moon than ever before. This growth in lunar activity requires new, more robust communication, navigation and networking features. NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program has developed the LunaNet architecture to meet these needs.

LunaNet leverages innovative networking technologies, standards and expandable frameworks to rapidly expand Moon’s networking capabilities. This framework enables industry, academia, and international partners to build and operate LunaNet nodes with NASA. These nodes provide missions with four different services: networking, navigation, detection and information, and wireless / optical science services.


Usually, when a mission is launched into space, communication to Earth relies on predetermined links using either space relays or terrestrial antennas. Relying on pre-planned links can limit communication opportunities and efficiency as more missions are heading towards the moon. LunaNet offers a networking method similar to the Internet on Earth. With this approach, users stay connected to larger networks and do not have to schedule data transfers in advance.

LunaNet’s central network framework is Delay-Tolerant Networking (DTN), which ensures that data flows smoothly through the network and reaches its final destination despite potential signal interruptions. In the event of a fault between two LunaNet nodes, the DTN node allows data to be stored until the path is clear.


For lunar navigation, the LunaNet method provides operational independence of data processing on Earth, while maintaining high accuracy. This architecture gives the mission access to the most important measurements needed to operate the on-board or control system or to locate the surface. Missions using the LunaNet navigation service have everything you need for autonomous navigation on the moon.

“LunaNet offers a new paradigm for ground-based navigation that enables crew and robot missions to quickly and accurately determine their locations and transfer them to planning systems,” said Mission Engineering and Cheryl Gramling, Associate Head of Systems Analysis Technology. Parts.

An overview video by LunaNet. Credit: NASA / Reese Patillo

Registration and information

LunaNet Discovery and Information Services provides users with alerts and other important information. This and similar features greatly enhance the situational awareness of astronauts, rovers and other assets. The surface of the moon ..

As an example, LunaNet alerts users directly using space metrics that detect potentially dangerous solar activity, rather than waiting for instructions from network administrators on Earth. These warnings are similar to what people get on their smartphones due to dangerous weather.

LunaNet’s discovery and information services also include the moon’s search and rescue function, LunaSAR. LunaSAR leverages the expertise of NASA’s search and rescue office, which has long developed ground search and rescue technology.

“Astronauts’ safety and well-being are important concerns for the Artemis program,” said Cody Kelly, mission chief of the National Search and Rescue Office. “Using LunaNet’s navigation services, LunaSAR provides location data to NASA’s emergency beacon in the event of an unforeseen event.”

Science services

LunaNet Scientific Services enables nodes to perform measurements for the benefit of Earth scientists using wireless and infrared optical communications connections. The network can provide baseline observations of the Moon, frequent measurement options that provide a comprehensive study of the Moon’s environment over time. In addition, note placement allows for regional or global observations of the Moon, giving scientists access to lunar data on a large spatial scale.

LunaNet antennas can also be used in applications such as radio astronomy. In radio astronomy, an antenna looks deep into the universe and searches for radio radiation from distant celestial bodies. These features provide scientists with a new platform to test new theories of space science and advance their scientific knowledge.

LunaNet: Improved Artemis with communication and navigation interoperability

LunaNet DTN concept graphics. Credit: NASA / Reese Patillo

Lunanet interoperability specifications

Last month, the LunaNet team published a draft interoperability specification as a starting point for technical discussions between industry and government experts around the world. The goal is a set of standards that enable an open and evolving collaborative monthly communication and navigation architecture.

“Artemis is a collaborative effort that depends on academia, civil aviation and the international community, and LunaNet is no exception,” said Jaime Esper, who led the development of the proposed interoperability specification. “Together, we will define a robust architecture that can meet the widest possible user tasks and needs and requirements of service providers.”

Lunanet background

LunaNet is a cross-functional team of experts in networking, navigation, science and systems engineering built on former NASA and international activities at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. I started that life. From this foundation, experts from across government bodies have come together to improve the proposal and develop a draft interoperability standard. LunaNet is currently derived from the Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program Office.

“LunaNet is NASA’s Communication Navigation” The entire team and the scientific exploration community are improving their groundbreaking approach to meeting the needs of lunar missions over the next few decades, “said Dave Israel, Goddard’s communications architect.

NASA engineers analyze navigation needs for Artemis’ lunar missions

Supplied by
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Quote: LunaNet: Enhanced Artemis with Communication and Navigation Interoperability (October 7, 2021), https: // 2021 Received on October 7.

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