ESA advances its plan for satellites around the Moon

Media representatives are invited to follow a press briefing with ESA directors and representatives of SSTL, Telespazio, UK Space Agency and the Italian space agency ASI on Thursday, 20 May 14:00-15:00 CEST, on a bold proposal that takes us a step closer to creating a commercially viable constellation of lunar satellites.

Dozens of international, institutional and commercial teams are planning to send missions to the Moon, envisaging a permanent human lunar presence. Using a shared telecommunications and navigation service would reduce the design complexity of future individual missions and make them lighter, freeing space for more scientific instruments or other cargo, making each individual mission more cost-efficient.

A lasting lunar link will enable sustainable space exploration.

Two consortia of companies will be supported by ESA to devise detailed definitions of how to provide telecommunications and navigation services for missions to the Moon, under the agency’s Moonlight initiative.

SSTL, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, will lead the first consortium, both in the service prime capacity through its lunar services brand SSTL Lunar and as the satellite manufacturer. The consortium also includes: satellite manufacturer Airbus; satellite network providers SES, based in Luxembourg, and Kongsberg Satellite Services, based in Norway; the Goonhilly Earth Station in the UK; and British satellite navigation company GMV-NSL.

The other consortium will be spearheaded by Telespazio (a joint venture between Leonardo 67% and Thales 33%), working with: satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space (a joint venture between Thales 67% and Leonardo 33%); satellite operator Inmarsat, based in the UK; Canadian space technology company MDA; Telespazio Germany and the satellite manufacturer OHB Systems in Germany; Spanish satellite operator Hispasat; and the Italian Aerospace Logistics Technology Engineering Company (ALTEC), aerospace engineering company Argotec, Nanoracks Europe, the Politecnico Milano and the Universitą commerciale Luigi Bocconi.

Programme Thurday, 20 May

14:00-14:30 CEST: Kick-off event

14:30- 15:00 CEST: Media Q&A


  • Elodie Viau, ESA Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications
  • Paul Verhoef, ESA Director of Navigation
  • David Parker, ESA Director of Human and Robotic Exploration
  • Phil Brownett, Managing Director of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd
  • Graham Turnock, UK Space Agency Chief Executive
  • Luigi Pasquali, Chief Executive Officer of Telespazio and Space Activities Coordinator of Leonardo
  • Giorgio Saccoccia, ASI President

The event will be moderated by Ninja Menning, Head of Newsroom and Media Relations.

Media registration

Journalists are invited to register for the media briefing by 19 May via:­esa-media-briefing-form/

The press conference will be streamed at , but only registered media will be able to ask questions

Registered media will receive an email with details on how to join. The briefing will be in English.

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