Sarah Withee, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

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Abstract:

The Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium (LSIC) brings together industry, academia, government agencies, and NASA to identify critical challenges in lunar surface exploration and build collaborations to develop the technology needed to solve those challenges. In the position, navigation, and timing (PNT) realm, LSIC’s Extreme Access PNT subgroup is currently focused on two major initiatives. The first is an examination of enabling technologies for exploration of two types of extreme lunar environments: lava tubes and permanently shadowed regions. The goal of this project is to determine what technology already exists, what technology needs to be developed, and what areas of technology development would benefit from NASA support. The second initiative is needs analysis for a future lunar PNT and communications infrastructure. In fall 2021, the PNT subgroup collaborated with other stakeholders in LSIC (Communications subgroup, and focus groups on In-Situ Resource Utilization and Excavation and Construction) to gather community input on NASA’s draft LunaNet Interoperability Specification for PNT and communications. The end product will be a document detailing use cases for PNT and comms infrastructure, an assessment of how well the proposed LunaNet interoperability framework will support those needs, and recommendations for any changes needed to support the proposed types of mission operations.