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Lunar InfraRed Imaging (LunIR)



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 will be launched as a secondary payload on the Artemis 1 SLS currently scheduled for 29 August 2022 at the earliest. 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

    Facts in Brief

    Launch Date: 2022-08-29
    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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