Commercial Lunar Mission Support Services


The Commercial Lunar Mission Support Services (CLMSS), also called Lunar Mission Support Services [1] (LMSS) is a collaboration between Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), Goonhilly Earth Station (GES) and the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a lunar telecommunications and navigation infrastructure to support lunar scientific and economic development.

The collaboration agreement, announced on 17 April 2018,[2] proposes a step-wise approach to implementing a sustainable commercial service to support both orbiting and landed lunar assets.[1][2]


Topographic map of the South Pole–Aitken basin based on Kaguya orbiter data. Red represents high elevation, purple represents low elevation. The purple and grey elliptical rings trace the inner and outer walls of the basin.

Dozens of different commercial, private and public missions to the Moon are planned for the coming decades, so the Commercial Lunar Mission Support Services (CLMSS) project intends to provide a sustainable communications and navigation infrastructure.[3] The commercial collaboration includes an upgrade of the Goonhilly Earth Station for commercial cis-lunar telecommunications, and the development of their first orbiter called the Lunar Pathfinder that is proposed to be launched in 2022[2] or 2023.[4] While the signed agreement covers missions to the Moon, there is the potential to apply a similar service for Mars in the future.[2]

Lunar Pathfinder

As of 2019, the Lunar Pathfinder orbiter is being offered to carry public and private instruments and CubeSats[1] to an elliptical lunar orbit that would place an emphasis on covering the far side of the Moon[4] and the South Pole–Aitken basin because of its potential lunar resources.[2][4][5] The orbiter would be developed by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL),[2] and launched in 2022 or 2023.[1] The system envisioned would utilise international standardised protocols for interoperability and cross-support. It would have a capacity of up to 60 kilograms (130 lb) payload to lunar orbit,[6] and function as a relay satellite for about 5 years.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Lunar Pathfinder Mission. Goonhilly Earth Station. Accessed on 12 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f ESA signs collaboration agreement for commercial Lunar missions. ESA Press Release, 17 April 2018.
  3. ^ ESA identifies demand for satellites around the moon. PhysOrg 17 July 2019.
  4. ^ a b c SSTL - Lunar Services. Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL). Accessed on 12 September 2019.
  5. ^ LUNAR MISSION SERVICES: ENABLING THE NEXT GENERATION OF LUNAR EXPLORERS. Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL). Accessed on 12 September 2019.
  6. ^ a b "ESA Strategy on Lunar MissionsOpportunities for Payload Development and Deliveries." Space Exploration Workshop, 13 November 2018, SSC, Solna. Published by ESA.