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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
SATCAT no.57686
Mission duration1 year, 7 months and 28 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 (Lunar InfraRed Imaging, formerly known as SkyFire) 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". www.ksat.no. Archived from the original on 14 February 2022. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  9. ^ "Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) Projects". NASA. 5 May 2015. Archived from the original on 18 August 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.