PlusComms Pty Ltd. Immediate Release
2014 Lunar Mission for Australia
Sydney,Australia:PlusComms is to play a major role in what will be the most complex space mission that Australia will have even been directly involved in.
PlusComms Pty Ltd is partnering with US company KGo Aerospace and i7 Engineering for a commercial lunar mission scheduled for late in 2014. The group is also known as “Team Stellar” as it will also be competing for the $20M Google Lunar X Prize to land a rover on the moon.
Robert Brand,Regional Operations Manager for PlusComms has also been appointed as Director of Spacecraft Communications,Navigation and Data for the group. This will include bringing back High Definition TV from the lunar rover as it traverses the moon’s surface.
The role of Brand and PlusComms is extremely complex and includes the following:
- Build a mission Control Centre in Sydney Australia
- Build a Mission Control Centre in Croatia
- Secure 3 x 30m dishes (US,a dish in the UK (partner) and an Australian dish or one on this rough longitude.
- Build a data network – global – linking the centres and the dishes
- Build a backup data network
- Build the Lander comms back to earth using space hardened equipment
- Build the Lander / Rover comms using space hardened equipment
- Build an alternate link for NASA TDRS / Iridium spacecraft comms
- Build backup space comms network with 3 x 5m dishes.
- Produce checklists and backup scenarios
- Test scenarios and simulations
- Acquire and train staff for the mission eg:partner with a Sydney Uni and others.
This is a brief list of some major capability being developed and the actual work will be more extreme in nature and include applications and visual interfaces. The centres are expected to be kept on line for other missions after the 2014 Stellar mission is completed.
Brand said “Although I have been involved in many space missions here in Australia,this will be the most complex ever. It will bring some serious long term ability to Australia and support for other space missions. As mentioned,I personally will be responsible for Comms,Navigation and Data networks – including TV from the Rover as it travels at least 500m from the lander. Once the Spacecraft is launched,the responsibility of many of the major activities will reside with me and my team.”
The Mission Control Centres will alternate in managing the mission unless we have a failure. It is likely that each centre will have control during its daytime hours to ensure staff are fresh for their responsibilities
Other members of the team include i7,the company that built the Red Bull Stratos capsule used by Felix Baumgartner to break the sound barrier by jumping from 39km altitude. Also one of the people that built NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover.
Brand was involved in many space missions starting at the age of 17 when he was working with OTC and wired up Apollo 11 TV and audio systems for NASA at OTC’s Paddington terminal. OTC was Australia’s international telecommunications carrier at the time. He was also involved in other Apollo missions,SkyLab,Shuttle launches up until STS51L,Voyager Encounters and ESA’s Giotto probe to Halleys Comet. In recent years Brand has become more involved in the deep space aspects of missions and is Speaks globally at major conferences on space about his experimental work including his involvement in the UK based Median Mars mission he is working on for 2020.
You will find Robert Brand’s involvement with Team Stellar here: http://teamstellar.org/#!/page_Our_Team
PlusComms involvement here: http://teamstellar.org/#!/page_Projects
PlusComms website here:http://pluscomms.com/
i7 Engineering here: http://www.i7engineering.com/
You can download a photo of Robert Brand here:http://pluscomms.com/Resources2/Robert%20Brand%20Parkes.png
You can download the infographics picture here:
For more information please contact:
Director Spacecraft Communications,Navigation and Data
Phone:(within Australia) 0412 081 266 Int’l:+61 412 081 266