SHERBROOKE, Quebec, Canada, [November 30, 2021] — NGC Aerospace and Firefly Aerospace are joining forces to land on the Moon in 2023. Firefly Aerospace will operate NGC’s crater-based navigation system on its first lunar landing mission.
As part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, Firefly’s Blue Ghost lander will deliver 10 science and technology payloads to the Moon and operate them on the lunar surface. To land safely on the Moon, Firefly will verify their vision navigation system against NGC’s state-of-the-art image processing crater-based navigation system software.
“This will be the first operational demonstration of our crater-based navigation system, designed to support high-accuracy Moon landing missions” says Jean-François Hamel, Vice-President for Space Exploration at NGC. This project is also Firefly’s first lunar mission.
This mission ties closely with the set vision that NGC has elaborated and continues to develop. “Teaming up with Firefly Aerospace for this trip to the Moon is a significant step forward in NGC’s strategic plan for its contribution to space exploration”, points out Jean de Lafontaine, President and CEO of NGC. “Moreover, providing software to precisely navigate to high-value science targets on this and future missions for a leading team of the NASA CLPS initiative is an honour and a badge of recognition to the outstanding work performed by our team in Sherbrooke.”
“NGC employs a very different approach to optical navigation compared to our own” says Firefly’s Blue Ghost Chief Engineer, Will Coogan. “This makes for an excellent scientific opportunity to compare the two methods over a common dataset, and to fortify mission assurance in the same stroke.”
NGC Aerospace acknowledges the financial support of the Canadian Space Agency.
ABOUT NGC AEROSPACE
NGC Aerospace’s mission is shaping the future of autonomous exploration through ingenuity, knowledge and collaboration. NGC is designing and deploying the computer intelligence of mobile systems with the aim of increasing their autonomy, performance, reliability and safety while reducing their development and operational costs. The mobile systems of interest include Earth satellites, planetary orbiters, landers, rovers and pilotless aerial vehicles. NGC’s guidance, navigation and control software has cumulated 45 years of successful operation in orbit and has contributed to the technologies enabling the high autonomy, agility and accuracy of future aerospace systems.
ABOUT FIREFLY AEROSPACE
Firefly is developing a family of launch and in-space vehicles and services that provide industry-leading affordability, convenience, and reliability. Firefly’s launch vehicles utilize common technologies, manufacturing infrastructure and launch capabilities, providing LEO launch solutions for up to ten metric tons of payload at the lowest cost per kg in the small-launch class. Combined with Firefly’s in-space vehicles, such as the Space Utility Vehicle and Blue Ghost Lunar Lander, Firefly provides the space industry with a single source for missions from LEO to the surface of the Moon or beyond. Firefly is headquartered in Cedar Park, TX. For more information please see: www.firefly.com
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