NewSpace Start-Up Aims To Send First Brazilian Probe To Moon

NewSpace Start-Up Aims To Send First Brazilian Probe To Moon

Chamber Articles Category: Miscellaneous Post Date: 01/29/18 Source: Forbes By: Bruce Dorminey
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NewSpace start-up ‘Airvantis’ is aiming for a 2021 launch of Brazil’s first lunar probe that would circle the Moon in a highly- elliptical orbit. The hope is that the nominal six month cubesat mission’s 7-kilogram payload --- dubbed ‘Garatea L’ --- will both further astrobiology and reveal new deep space radiation insights that one day might help astronauts on a mission to Mars.

Lucas Fonseca, a space systems engineer and the Sao Paulo and New York-based company’s founder, told me that he remains hopeful that this Garatea L mission will achieve its full $10 million funding. That would ensure that it will be launched as planned as part of a multi-national payload atop a PSVL-XL rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in India.

The launch is headed up by U.K.-based Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) and Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd. as a lunar pathfinder mission that will include both transport and communications links for the payloads.

The priority is to understand how both biomolecules and so-called ‘extremophile’ bacteria are affected by extraordinarily harsh deep space environments. That is, when they are exposed to high-energy galactic cosmic rays and solar protons. The team also wants to determine how bacteria known to survive under Earth’s toughest conditions --- in a real-time unprotected lunar environment. Read Full Article