Moon base infrastructure reports expected by December

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The telecommunication and navigation infrastructure for the Moon's exploration by the world's space agencies is to be the focus of two studies this year, with final reports for both commercial and institutional requirements to be completed by December.

While the commercial study is NASA's and the institutional report is multi-agency, both will focus on the telecommunication and navigation requirements and necessary technical standards to ensure different agencies' cislunar infrastructure is interoperable.

The studies include market assessments, legal issues, international mission and data traffic models, and the involvement of the multinational bodies, the Interagency Operations Advisory Group, the Space Frequency Coordination Group and the Consultative Committee on Space Data Systems.

NASA is already advanced in its discussions with industry with the help of the US Chamber of Commerce's Space Enterprise Council (SEC). Tom Cummings, Boeing Constellation programme engineering systems architecture and integration manager, and SEC member, says: "SEC has recommended to NASA what international standards should be used."

He added that non-US companies had met the SEC to discuss standards issues. For telecommunications NASA planners are expecting cellular phone-type transmissions from space suits through to high-definition television (HDTV) bandwidth needs.

The use of HDTV is expected to be necessary for scientific and for public outreach work and will require data rates of 250Mbits/s and more.

On navigation the US agency expects something like the US Navy's now-defunct Transit system to be used, as a lunar global positioning system is deemed too expensive. Transit had few satellites and only allowed periodic corrections for inertial guidance systems.