If humanity is to have a long-term presence on the Moon, he’s going to need reliable communications – and Lockheed Martin thinks he can provide that link. The company has created a spin-off devoted to lunar infrastructures, Crescent Space, whose first project is a network of Moon-Earth satellites. Parsec, as it is called, uses a constellation of small lunar satellites to provide a non-stop connection between astronauts, their equipment and the people at home. The system will also provide navigation assistance.
The technology should help explorers stay in touch and facilitate spacecraft trajectory changes. As Lockheed Martin explains, however, it could prove vital for those on lunar soil. Parsec’s nodes create a lunar equivalent of GPS, giving astronauts their exact positions and directions to base. A rover crew might figure out how to get home without entering a dangerous crater, for example.
Crescent’s first Parsec nodes are expected to be operational by 2025, with Lockheed Martin providing the satellites. And before you ask: yes, the company is clearly hoping for big customers. CEO Joe Landon (formerly VP of Lockheed Martin Space) says Crescent is “well positioned” to support NASA Artemis landings on the Moon and other exploratory missions.
The start may seem premature as NASA’s Artemis program won’t even perform a lunar flyby until late 2024 and a landing at the end of 2025. However, there is already a clear moon race which includes the national efforts of the United States and China as well as private projects like SpaceX lunar tourism. Crescent could help Lockheed Martin take advantage of this rush without disrupting its existing business.