Who is Astrobotic Technology, Inc.?
Astrobotic Technology Inc. is a lunar logistics company that delivers packages to the Moon for companies, governments, universities, non-profits, and individuals. Astrobotic’s first mission will include payloads such as rovers and scientific instruments. And through a program called MoonMail, even individuals can send a keepsake that will be stored on the moon for centuries to come.
In order to get to the moon, Astrobotic is developing a robotic lunar lander, along with the necessary technologies, in partnership with NASA under the Lunar CATALYST program. After hitching a ride to space aboard a commercial launch vehicle, Astrobotic will maintain contact with their vehicle from mission control in Pittsburgh through an international network of ground stations that provide telecommunications to spacecraft. Guiding the robotic lander from lunar orbit to the surface will be an autonomous landing system navigating using multiple onboard cameras.
Astrobotic, in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, is competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, an international competition for the first commercial entity to land on the moon, travel 500 meters and transmit back high definition videos and images.
Logistics of Research and Development
Before launching their vehicle into space, Astrobotic tests its systems in various locations across the United States, such as Huntsville, AL, Houston, TX, and Mojave, CA. “We find it cost effective,” explains Senior Software Engineer Aaron Acton, “to send a small group of engineers out for field testing while collaborating with others who remain back at our headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA. Our visual navigation system collects huge amounts of data that we need to transfer to Pittsburgh. To keep the team working efficiently, we have partnered with DQE Communications due to their speed and capability to burst from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps of bandwidth.” Soon, this need for country-wide communications will extend internationally and even beyond Earth as Astrobotic plans to provide wireless networking for its customers’ rovers while they explore the Lacus Mortis region of the Moon.
DQE Communications Assists in Providing Logistical Solutions
“As we get closer to our first flight,” continues Acton, “we see our relationship with DQE Communications continuing to grow. We contract with commercial ground stations located in various countries around the world to provide radio communications from their large radio antennas to our vehicle in space, and our engineers will be conducting operations from mission control right here in Pittsburgh. Because of their exceptional reliability and redundancy, I entrust the networking in between to DQE.”
DQE Communications is proud to be among the area’s business partners and solution providers to the fascinating innovations in planetary missions occurring at Astrobotic Technology.
To learn more about DQE Communications and their expertise in supplying reliable, scalable solutions, visit DQECOM.com.