Cislunar distributed architectures for communication and navigation services of lunar assets

Andrea Pasquale, Giovanni Zanotti, Jacopo Prinetto, Michele Ceresoli, Michèle Lavagna 2022

link:: doi:: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2022.06.004


The last decade saw a renewed interest on the Moon as a well suited training premise in preparation to manned mission to Mars, but also as an interesting target itself, for scientific investigations, technological developments and new markets opportunities. As a result, numerous and very different missions to the Moon are currently being studied and implemented, assuming to have our satellite quite crowded soon. Such a scenario motivates the settling of space infrastructures to offer recurrent services like data relays, communication links and navigation in the cislunar environment which would facilitate and enlighten the single mission’s implementation and operation. The paper presents the strategy adopted to address the design of the orbital configuration for a distributed architecture to answer the communication and navigation needs to serve at the best the diversified lunar missions scenario expected for the next decades. First, a set of parameters of merit are identified and explained in their mathematical expression and physical meaning. Then, different regions of interest for possible future missions are identified and mapped to the relevant performances wanted for that specific region. Last a Multi-Objective Optimisation framework is presented, both in the exploited genotype and the different objectives participating to the definition of the cost function, in order to provide a versatile tool. The paper critically discusses the effectiveness of the proposed approach in detecting the best suited distributed orbital architectures for the servicers according to the expected service performance in specific user regions, spread all over the Earth–Moon volume — from Earth vicinity to Lunar surface, considering also robustness aspects. The benefits in the exploitation of the multibody dynamical regime offered by the Earth–Moon system to set up the most promising orbital set with a minimum number of servicing spacecraft are underlined as well.


@greg: The Cis-lunar architecture paper by Pasquale (first in list) calls out adding platform specific constraints (slant range, angle, antenna bandwidth, frequency) as a possible follow adjustment to the optimization they ran. If we wanted to go pure research, this could be a way.