20 Jan, 2022
Luxembourg, 20 January 2022 – Plus Ultra Space Outposts (Plus Ultra), a European company developing a lunar satellite constellation, and ispace Europe (ispace EU), the European branch of ispace, inc., have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on joint lunar missions. The MoU includes the transport and deployment of satellites into lunar orbit, as early as 2024[i], to provide communications and navigations services.
Plus Ultra and ispace intend to combine their complementary capabilities to further explore the possibilities of commercial space resources on the Moon and in lunar orbit. Under the terms of the MoU, ispace would transport Plus Ultra’s lunar communication satellites as customer payloads to the Moon. In return, Plus Ultra would provide lunar communications and navigation services to ispace, among other potential collaborations.
Plus Ultra is planning to launch a lunar satellite constellation called “Harmony” to provide continuous, high-speed communications of up to 100 Mbps between any location on or around the Moon, including cislunar orbit, and anywhere on Earth. With plans to begin operations in 2024[ii], Harmony is envisioned to optimize the navigation of space vehicles, such as those operated by ispace, as well as for commercial and governmental operators of landers, rovers, space tugs, and larger transportation systems on and around the lunar surface, with the aim of enabling a whirlwind of activity on the Moon that ushers in a new era for the space economy.
● Carlos Manuel Entrena Utrilla, Founder & CEO, Plus Ultra: “We need a paradigm shift for space exploration and business to establish a cis-lunar economy and the collaboration with ispace is a great step towards that goal. The agreement with ispace already shows the strong commercial interest in Harmony’s services allowing us to start offering complete packages for lunar vehicles and other device deployments. With our constellation we are aiming to set the de facto industry standard for lunar communications and navigation, taking it from the exclusive resource it is now to a regular 24/7 service that enables new opportunities. With the Moonlight Initiative and NASA’s Near Space Network respectively, space agencies like ESA and NASA have explicitly shown their interest for a lunar communications and navigation system.”
● Julien-Alexandre Lamamy, Managing Director, ispace Europe: “A continuous, high-speed communications infrastructure is essential to enable the development of the cis-lunar ecosystem. That’s why we’re so pleased to work with Plus Ultra and utilize our complementary capabilities to not only achieve mutual interests, but also to establish the building blocks of a sustainable future for the lunar industry.”
● Marc Serres, CEO, Luxembourg Space Agency: “The Luxembourg Space sector has been showing continuous dynamism and development over the past years and I am thrilled to see that Plus Ultra is now also establishing its presence in the Grand Duchy. The moon is the next stop on the way to space exploration and space resources utilisation. We strongly believe in collaboration as a key success factor for the future of the space industry, and I am delighted to see the development of such projects with our national ecosystem.”
■ Plus Ultra Space Outposts SL (https://www.plus-ultra.space/)
Plus Ultra is a new European company based in Spain, Germany and Luxembourg aiming to deploy and operate a low orbit satellite constellation for the Moon, required for the accelerated development and sustainability of the fast-growing lunar economy. With this game changing communication and navigation infrastructure, offering global highspeed broadband connectivity and precise navigation on the Moon and cislunar orbit, Plus Ultra aims to become the backbone of the lunar economy. For clients this means commercial and scientific ROI maximization, maximum access to the Moon and to cislunar orbit, substantial risk minimization as well as significant cost reduction. Plus Ultra’s constellation “Harmony” is projected to begin its initial operations in 2024[iii].
■ ispace, inc. (https://ispace-inc.com/)
ispace is a lunar exploration company with over 160 staff and offices in Japan, Europe and the United States. ispace builds small commercial lunar landers, aiming to provide a high-frequency, low-cost delivery service to the Moon. Aspiring to be a gateway for private sector companies to bring their businesses to the Moon, ispace has also launched a lunar data business concept to support companies with their entry into the lunar market. The company’s first lunar mission is currently planned for 2022[iv]. The lander for that mission is currently undergoing final assembly at an ArianeGroup facility in Germany and will launch from the United States on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Both ispace, inc., and ispace EU were awarded contracts to collect and transfer ownership of lunar regolith to NASA, and ispace EU was selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to be part of the Science Team for PROSPECT, a program which seeks to extract water on the Moon.
[i] Planned as of January 2022.
[ii] Planned as of January 2022.
[iii] Planned as of January 2022.
[iv] Planned as of January 2022.