Jacksonville company will guide lunar lander to the surface of the moon in 2023

by | Aug 18, 2021

When the U.S. finally returns to the moon two years from now, the new lunar lander will be guided to the surface by avionics developed by Redwire, a company headquartered in Jacksonville.

Redwire, a leader in mission critical space solutions and high reliability components, provides high performance space camera and navigation systems for human and robotic spacecraft.

It was recently awarded a subcontract from Firefly Aerospace to provide avionics and critical navigation systems for Firefly’s Blue Ghost lunar lander, which is heading to the moon in 2023.

Firefly Aerospace was awarded a contract to deliver a suite of 10 science investigations and technology demonstrations to the moon in 2023 for NASA’s Artemis program. The award is part of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, in which NASA is securing the service of commercial partners to quickly land science and technology payloads on the lunar surface.

Through the contract with Firefly, Redwire is to provide the core avionics for the Blue Ghost lander as well as 10 cameras for the lander and the Optical Navigation System that Blue Ghost will use for descent and landing on the lunar surface. The camera system developed for Blue Ghost provides situational awareness and payload support including ultra high-definition video captured throughout the mission. The optical navigation system includes terrain relative navigation and hazard avoidance computation within Redwire’s Vision Navigation Processor.

“Redwire is proud to support Firefly in making this mission possible,” said Adam Biskner, Executive Vice President of Engineering Solutions for Redwire. “Redwire’s expertise in avionics, cameras and visual navigation systems will help enable the success of the Blue Ghost lander’s mission to advance understanding of the Moon’s scientific and economic potential.”

The Blue Ghost lander will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 and then run some of the onboard experiments and technology demonstrations during transit and orbit. It will then touch down in Mare Crisium and operate on the lunar surface for 14 days (one lunar day), collecting data on the lunar surface to prepare for a future human presence on the moon.

“Redwire is proud to be a key partner on this lunar mission that will demonstrate new commercially-developed capabilities to explore the Moon’s surface,” said Al Tadros, Chief Growth Officer and Executive Vice President of Space Infrastructure for Redwire. “Our next-generation technology delivers critical capabilities for today’s most advanced lunar missions and exploration objectives.”

Redwire cameras were also recently selected for NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) Payloads and Research Investigations on the Surface of the Moon (PRISM) 1A delivery to Reiner Gamma as a part of the Applied Physics Lab’s Lunar Vertex science instrument suite.



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