Lúnasa Signs €611k ESA Contract to build High-Precision Relative GNSS Solution for In-Space Services and Distributed Space Systems
London, United Kingdom — January 16, 2024: Lúnasa Space, a UK-based startup focused on next-gen autonomous navigation systems for in-space vehicles, announced today a contract worth €611k with the European Space Agency (ESA), under the NAVISP Element 2 programme. Lúnasa will further develop its novel high-precision, COTS-based, Relative Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) solution, enabling critical in-orbit satellite services and docking missions, structure assembly and satellite formation flying.
ESA’s NAVISP Element 2 programme focuses on the development of innovative and competitive products in the satellite navigation and wider position, navigation, and timing domain. The objective of this programme, which is supported by several countries including the UK, is to boost Member States industrial competitiveness in the fast-evolving navigation sector.
Amin Chabi, Founder and CEO of Lúnasa said: “We are thrilled to be working with ESA, marking a significant progress in Lúnasa’s innovative satellite Rendezvous Proximity Operations (RPO) Kit. Our mission is to lead the way in shaping the future of autonomous space navigation, and we are excited about the commercial possibilities this opens for Lúnasa and the broader space industry.”
Craig Brown, Investment Director at the UK Space Agency, said: “The advanced technology developed by Lúnasa Space has the potential to really help improve the way we manoeuvre satellites in orbit by more accurately calculating position. This type of capability is vital if we are to develop in-orbit services such as refuelling, upgrading or active debris mitigation.
“These new positioning, navigation and timing solutions can improve satellite usability and longevity, increasing the business, economic and societal benefits that space services give us.
“Lúnasa’s contract signed with ESA is an excellent example of the type of high-risk, high-reward investment that the UK space sector needs to keep breaking barriers, and speaks to the UK’s heritage of championing cutting-edge technology.”
“The market trend for relative navigation sensors for space applications is currently evolving, with a particular emphasis on the emerging need for satellite formation flying and in-orbit servicing” said Ricardo Fernandes, Lúnasa’s Senior Flight Software Engineer and the Technical Lead of this project. “As the space environment is becoming more congested and contested, it is vital to be able to have real-time onboard software which can accurately compute the relative position between spacecraft.”.
While this groundbreaking technology serves several specific satellite navigation needs by itself, it is also a critical part of Lúnasa’s AI-based vision navigation kit which is used by satellites to perform autonomous in-space Rendezvous Proximity Operations and Docking (RPOD) missions.
About Lúnasa Space:
Lúnasa Space, a UK-based space-tech startup founded by Amin Chabi, is focused on making space operations safe and sustainable by building autonomous satellite navigation solutions. The venture-backed company, with expertise in navigation, space systems, and satellite operations, has won several awards since its formation in March 2021 and is now working with the global space industry to pave the way to enable in-orbit satellite services.
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