Evan J. Anzalone, Jacob Jensen, Tamara L. Statham, NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center; Scott H. Bryant, Kathleen A. Harmon, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Greg Lee, Tethers Unlimited, Inc.; Mike G. Abbod, Randy E. Barter, Albert Ibarra, Timothy J. Hoffman, Lorenzo L. Morgan, Ricky D. Overcash, Collin J. Rokke, Peraton Inc.

View Abstract Sign in for premium content


Similar to lighthouses providing navigation aids and awareness to ships sailing along the coast, in-situ navigation beacons can be used to provide redundancy, awareness, and improved onboard position knowledge for vehicles operating in and around the lunar sphere of influence. Lunar Node - 1 is a radio frequency navigation beacon that is manifested on Intuitive Machines' NOVA-C lunar lander flight in 2022 for operation during cruise and from a mid-latitude landing location. This payload utilizes commercial components developed for Low Earth Orbit applications and packages them into an integrated package to provide a navigation reference signal as part of a large lunar-centric navigation network. As part of its operations, Deep Space Network ground stations will operate as the notional "user" of this service, allowing for performance characterization, calibration, and operation of the beacon payload. This paper provides an overview of the payload, how its fits into a large concept of operations, and ground testing results. A specific focus is on ground testing of the payload with DSN ground receivers as part of Radio Frequency (RF)Compatibility Testing. A primary goal of this testing was to characterize a pseudo-noise ranging code sequence generated by the payload. The results in this paper define the testing sequence, unique operational constraints with two-way ranging ground equipment, and applications of the ground-derived error model to predicted in-flight performance of the ranging code.