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Blue Ghost Mission 2 (Firefly)

NSSDCA ID: BLUEGHOS2

Description

The objective of the Blue Ghost Mission 2 (CS-3) is to land on the far side of the Moon and take advantage of the radio-quiet environment to deploy an array of antennas, comprising a low-frequency (0.1 to 50 MHz) radio telescope. The telescope will be used to observe the radio sky at frequencies below 50 MHz and will measure the low-frequency foreground of the universe. It will also help evaluate the far side of the Moon as a radio-quiet environment, test the hypothesis of the late heavy bombardment of the Moon, and test the hypothesis that a major rearrangement of planet distances and the beginning of life on Earth occurred at about the same time. The mission is currently planned to launch in late 2025 or early 2026. Blue Ghost Mission 2 was selected through NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, in which NASA contracts with a commercial partner, in this case Firefly, that provides the launch and lander.

The mission consists of the Blue Ghost lunar lander, the Elytra Dark orbital vehicle, and the Lunar Surface Electromagnetic Explorer Night system (LuSEE Night). Elytra Dark will serve as a transfer vehicle to bring the Blue ghost lander to the Moon. Blue Ghost will land on the lunar far side carrying LuSee Night, which will deploy directly from the spacecraft. LuSee Night comprises four monopole antennas in the form of two crossed dipoles, each 6 meters tip to tip. The LuSEE structure is a 1 m x 1 m cube, 70 cm high, mounted on top of the lander, with the antennas on top. It has a motor driven rotating platform so the antenna orientation can be changed in the plane of the lunar surface.

The Blue Ghost lander has horizontal solar cells on the top platform, vertical solar cells on the east and west sides of the cube, and an approximately 40 kg, 6500 Whr battery to store power for use during the lunar night. A DC-DC converter is used to mask power supply noise. Thermal control is achieved using south-facing radiator panels and thermally isolated electronic components to allow for warming during the night by normal operations. LuSEE Night will provide its own S-band uplink/downlink communications to the European Space Agency Lunar Pathfinder communications relay satellite. Antenna voltages are sampled at 102.4 Msamples per second. A command and data handling computer, pre-amps, and a signal processor are also mounted inside the cube structure.

The mission is currently planned to launch in 2025 at the earliest. After landing on the lunar far side and commissioning, the lander will cease all operations by the first nightfall. From this point on, LuSEE Night will be completely independent, with its own power and communication system. This is to prevent interference from any external sources from the lander. During the day, the system will charge the battery, operate the rotating platform if necessary, and upload data and complete other communications. At night the battery will supply power and radio quiet will be maintained to allow the sensitive measurements.

For more on NASA's CLPS initiative and missions, see:

https://science.nasa.gov/lunar-discovery/deliveries

Image credit: Firefly Aerospace

Alternate Names

  • Blue Ghost 2
  • BlueGhostMission2
  • CLPS CS-3
  • CS-3
  • Firefly

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 
Launch Vehicle: 
Launch Site: , United States

Funding Agency

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (United States)

Disciplines

  • Planetary Science
  • Astronomy

Additional Information

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

 

Personnel

NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Stuart D. BaleMission Principal InvestigatorUniversity of California, Berkeleybale@berkeley.edu
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