LunART (Luna Amateur Radio Transponder)

LunART (Luna Amateur Radio Transponder)

The European Space Agency (ESA) plans to launch larger probes, called European Large Logistic Lander (EL3), on the lunar surface every 3 years starting in 2027. She had recently invited to define interesting experiments and payloads.

AMSAT-DL has submitted a proposal to this effect under the name LunART (Luna Amateur Radio Transponder). This is a communication platform which includes a coherent S/X-band linear transponder. This would make contacts similar to those currently possible via QO-100 even worldwide. A VHF/UHF transponder is also announced. A prototype of the coherent linear transponder has already been tested within the framework of the P3-E and P5-A projects of AMSAT-DL.

LunART also supports universities and students by providing access to their experiments. Finally, various beacons from the VHF range to 47 GHz are planned, which will serve radio amateurs as a reference for optimizing their EME systems and will allow interesting experiments, for example, regarding the orbit of the moon.

Finally, LunART in conjunction with the 20m mirror of the AMSAT-DL at the Bochum Observatory can provide backup communications in the event of an emergency or when the ESA network is at capacity. This concept has already been considered for the DLR/AMSAT P5-A mission to the Moon and Mars and has therefore also been referenced in this proposal.

The selection of the experiments that will eventually fly on the EL3 is still at a very early stage. Idea submissions closed on July 3, 2020, and a preliminary review has already been conducted. By early September, all proposals submitted will be evaluated by a panel to move to Stage 2 based on the recommendations of the evaluation panel. We hope to be there and will report on the progress.


The documents can be viewed online at ESA:


Peter DB2OS and Matthias DD1US (2020-07-03)


Image credits: ESA and DLR


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