From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

SkyFire lunar CubeSat.jpg
The LunIR CubeSat, which will characterize and collect lunar surface data.
Mission typeTechnology demonstrator, reconnaissance
OperatorLockheed Martin Space
COSPAR ID2022-156K Edit this at Wikidata
Mission duration13 days (in progress)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type6U CubeSat
BusTyvak Nano-Satellite Systems
ManufacturerLockheed Martin Space
Launch mass14 kg (31 lb)
Dimensions10 cm × 20 cm × 30 cm
Start of mission
Launch date16 November 2022, 06:47:44 UTC[1]
RocketSLS Block 1
Launch siteKSC, LC-39B
Flyby of Moon

LunIR is a nanosatellite spacecraft launched to the Moon collecting surface spectroscopy and thermography. It was launched as a secondary payload on the Artemis 1 mission on 16 November 2022.[1][2]


LunIR is a technology demonstration mission funded by NASA that uses a low-cost 6U CubeSat spacecraft. LunIR will perform a lunar flyby, collecting spectroscopy and thermography for surface characterization, remote sensing, and site selection.[3] The spacecraft includes two deployable solar panels and will have a total mass of about 14 kg (31 lb).

LunIR was selected in April 2015 by NASA's NextSTEP program (Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships) and awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin Space worth US$1.4 million for further development.[4][5][6]

LunIR will communicate with Earth via ground stations operated by Kongsberg Satellite Services. LunIR will use 13-meter-diameter radio antennas located in Punta Arenas, Chile; Svalbard, Norway; and Troll station, Antarctica.[7][8]


LunIR was launched as one of ten CubeSats as a secondary payload on the maiden flight of the Space Launch System, Artemis 1.[2]


LunIR will demonstrate a low thrust electric propulsion technology called electrospray propulsion to lower the spacecraft's orbit for additional science and technology mission objectives.[9]

See also[edit]

The 10 CubeSats flying in the Artemis 1 mission
The three CubeSat missions removed from Artemis 1


  1. ^ a b Roulette, Joey; Gorman, Steve (16 November 2022). "NASA's next-generation Artemis mission heads to moon on debut test flight". Reuters. Retrieved 16 November 2022.
  2. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (12 October 2021). "Adapter structure with 10 CubeSats installed on top of Artemis moon rocket". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  3. ^ Williams, Greg; Crusan, Jason (April 2015). "Pioneering Space – Evolvable Mars Campaign" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 9 March 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ Morring, Frank (24 April 2015). "Habitats Could Be NASA's Next Commercial Spacecraft Buy". Aviation Week. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  5. ^ Clark, Stephen (8 April 2015). "NASA adding to list of CubeSats flying on first SLS mission". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  6. ^ Krebs, Gunter (18 May 2020). "LunIR (SkyFire)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  7. ^ "KSAT to support NASA LunIR mission". SpaceNews. 10 February 2022. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  8. ^ "KSAT to provide Ground Network support for the LunIR mission". Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  9. ^ "Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) Projects". NASA. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.