Mission Control’s Spacefarer Platform to be Used on Astrobotic Lunar CubeRover

Mission Control and Astrobotic Technology partner on moon mission. From left to right: Dr. Samara Pillay, Vice President of AI and Space Products for Mission Control, Ewan Reid, Founder and CEO of Mission Control, Lisa Campbell, President of the Canadian Space Agency, Mike Provenzano, Vice President of Advanced Development Programs for Astrobotic, and Alivia Chapla, Director of Marketing and Communications for Astrobotic. Image credit: SpaceQ.

Yesterday at the 39th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Ottawa’s Mission Control and Pittsburgh based Astrobotic Technology announced a partnership that will see the Astrobotic lunar CubeRover use the Mission Control Spacefarer operations platform.

The CubeRover is manifested as one payload on the Astrobotic Griffin-1 mission and scheduled for no earlier than Q4 of this year. The rover demonstration is “designed to traverse multiple kilometers across planetary bodies and accommodate a vast variety of payloads. Mission Control’s Spacefarer software platform will integrate with the shoebox-sized CubeRover to demonstrate commanding and monitoring of a lunar rover in real time.”

At the press conference, Mike Provenzano, Vice President of Advanced Development Programs for Astrobotic said there will be a variety of customer payloads onboard CubeRover. Those customers or “operators” as he put it, “can control and monitor the rover during transit and on the surface of the moon. And in this case, we’re using Mission Controls Spacefarer ground software to do that, and that’s what’s going to be tested on this mission.”

The CubeRover, developed by Astrobotic, will be integrated with Mission Control's Spacefarer operations platform and flown aboard Astrobotic’s Griffin-1
The CubeRover, developed by Astrobotic, will be integrated with Mission Control’s Spacefarer operations platform and flown aboard Astrobotic’s Griffin-1. Image credit: Astrobotic.

In his remarks, Ewan Reid, Founder and CEO of Mission Control described the Spacefarer operations platform as follows. “Spacefarer is our platform that allows partners and customers mission controllers to operate and engage with space based robotics and advanced payloads. It allows developers to streamline and reduce the development time and to increase the efficiency of missions and ultimately maximize the potential for scientific and commercial return for missions.”

Mission Control has several missions lined up including a one year test of the platform in low Earth orbit. He didn’t elaborate on that mission. Mission Control is also licensing the software to other customers.

Reid went on to thank the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for their support over the years including providing a contribution through the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP). CSA president Lisa Campbell was also present at the press conference and spoke of these young companies.

“Thank you so much Ewan. And Mike, you mentioned that Mission Control Space Services is fun to work with. And I can attest to that having seen at your (Mission Control) headquarters, (is a) testament to your leadership view, and it’s fun, it’s dynamic. You’ve attracted brilliant talent from around the world, and you’re enabling them to create. So kudos to you and the team that you’ve assembled. We’re so proud to be here. What an exciting time and space exploration as commercial companies are at the very beginning of creating a new market and economy in the moon. And quite frankly, you’re also validating something we believe in at the agency which is we need to try things we need to be bold. The world wants more of what Canada has to offer. So today is proof of that, that it works and you know, we take these chances we make these investments and together, accomplish extraordinary things and create the partnerships that you need to make. This mission promises to be groundbreaking, a demonstration of commercial space technology, but quite frankly, I think it’s just going to grow. From here, you’re gonna have more and more people knocking at your door to see what this can do, how you can customize it to their needs.”

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and Executive Vice President, Content of SpaceNews. Boucher has 25+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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