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Lunar InfraRed Imaging



Lunar InfraRed Imaging (LunIR), formerly known as SkyFire, is a 6U CubeSat designed to perform a lunar flyby followed by a deep space technology test to address questions related to transit and long-duration missions. The primary objectives of the mission are to address strategic knowledge gaps (SKGs) for surface characterization, remote sensing, and site selection observations for the Moon, and SKGs for long-duration missions to Mars. The primary mission goal is to collect data that will enable future risk reduction for crewed missions. LunIR is scheduled to launch as a ride-on payload on the Space Launch System (SLS) on Artemis 1.

LunIR is a 6U CubeSat (10 x 20 x 30 cm) with deployable solar panel wings to generate power. Total mass is approximately 14 kg. It carries one primary instrument, a miniature high-temperature Mid-Wave InfraRed (MWIR) sensor using a micro-cryocooler.

LunIR launched as a secondary payload on the Artemis 1 SLS on 16 November 2022. After deployment, it will perform a lunar flyby, taking images of the surface to characterize the Moon's thermal environment. After the flyby, LunIR will conduct technology demonstrations related to maneuvering and deep-space operations related to future Mars missions.

Concept image credit: Tyvak Corp.

Alternate Names

  • 57686
  • LunIR
  • LunarInfraRedImaging

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2022-11-16
Launch Vehicle: 
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Mass: 14 kg

Funding Agency

  • Unknown (United States)


  • Engineering

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. John RingelbergProject
Dr. Christopher MooreProgram ManagerNASA
Dr. James RussellMission Principal
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