Clear-Com’s Eclipse HX Digital Matrix, V-Series panels, Agent-IC mobile app and Station-IC Virtual Desktop Client is helping to enable communications between ground teams responsible for tracking, telemetry and support for space travel, landing and exploration between the Earth and the Moon or within the Moon’s orbit (‘Cis-lunar’). Houston-based Intuitive Machines (IM) has been conducting successful lunar landing simulations and mission control testing with its Lunar Telemetry and Tracking Network (LTN), which uses the Clear-Com technology.
IM is a premiere provider and supplier of space products and services enabling sustainable exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond. In 2021, the company completed construction of Nova Control, a state-of-the-art mission control centre in Houston that will track and support a series of three upcoming missions to the moon (IM-1, IM-2 and IM-3), beginning in early 2022. Since completing Nova Control, IM has been running countless simulations of different essential points in the mission – critical burn, landing, surface operations and more – to exercise flight control teams and ground control teams for the safest possible mission. All communications for these simulations are undertaken using IM’s Clear-Com infrastructure.
“The testing and simulations we do validate our Lunar Telemetry and Tracking Network and mitigate possible risks in our upcoming IM missions,” explained Dr. Troy Leblanc, VP of Control Centers for IM. “We rely on our voice communications to ensure these pre-mission activities are successful, so that we can guarantee our mission will be successful.”
The LTN now consists of Nova Control in Houston, where the Eclipse Median Frame and 14 V-Series Panels are located, one V-Series panel that is placed with IM’s launch team at SpaceX’s facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Goonhilly Earth Station (GES) in the UK using Agent-IC, and the CSIRO Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia, using the new Station-IC Virtual Desktop Client.
The network also includes various NASA research centres and space flight centres connected over Agent-IC, and participating commercial payload customers, including Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, the International Lunar observatory Association in Hawaii, Louisiana State University, and Moorhead State University in Kentucky, who will also be using Agent-IC to listen to and monitor mission activities.
“With Eclipse, V-Series Panels, Agent-IC, and Station-IC it was simple to facilitate a wide variety of local and remote communications needs, all managed through the EHX Software,” said Brian Mader, mission operations for Intuitive Machines. “With a cohesive communications platform managing terrestrial comms, our teams and other invested parties can communicate seamlessly around the world, bringing us one step closer to the moon.”
Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C spacecraft will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket to conduct first-of-its-kind lunar research and exploration of the Moon’s surface in early 2022.