Astrobotic Unveils High-Fidelity Lunar Surface Proving Ground for Payload Testing

Astrobotic Unveils High-Fidelity Lunar Surface Proving Ground for Payload Testing

Astrobotic announced the unveiling of its Lunar Surface Proving Ground (LSPG) at its facility in Mojave, CA. The approximately 100 mx100 m high-fidelity 3D test field mimics the topography and optical properties of the Moon’s surface. The LSPG’s terrain is modeled after an actual map of the Moon’s South Pole, generated with Astrobotic’s LunaRay simulation and terrain modeling tools. 

The LSPG test site will be used for a variety of test campaigns, from precise lunar landing technologies like LiDAR scanners and navigation algorithms to lunar rovers and other robotic systems. In addition to providing a realistic lunar topography for spacecraft and rover sensors and systems, this test field can simulate the extreme lighting conditions encountered at the lunar poles.  

“Our Lunar Surface Proving Ground stands out as the most realistic test field of this scale, modeled directly from a lunar surface map, anywhere in the world,” said Sean Bedford, Director of Business Development at Astrobotic. “We’re excited to simulate the lunar landscape for high-fidelity testing here on Earth as industry, government, and academia develop Moon to Mars capabilities.” 

The LSPG debuted as the test site for several winning teams of NASA’s 2023-2024 TechRise Student Challenge, managed by NASA’s Flight Opportunities program and administered by Future Engineers. Thirty winning teams of 6-12th grade students from across the U.S. will fly their experiments aboard Xodiac, Astrobotic’s vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing (VTVL) reusable rocket, over the LSPG as the culmination of their work this school year. The student teams’ experiments range from terrain mapping and lunar crater detection using LiDAR and AI image processing, to water detection and thermal mapping using infrared cameras. The first 15 student payloads successfully flew over the LSPG aboard Xodiac on June 21. 

The TechRise Student Challenge flights are the LSPG’s first major campaign. It will also be the test site for this year’s NASA TechLeap Prize’s Nighttime Precision Landing Challenge. Draper, San Diego State University, and Astrobotic also have test activities planned on Xodiac in the coming months.

“Allowing students, the next generation of engineers and rocket scientists, to be the first customers to use the LSPG is exciting for our team,” said Bedford, “It’s our mission to make space accessible to the world and this one-of-a-kind test field is another big step in making that goal a reality.” 

Click here to learn more about Astrobotic Technology's Terrestrial Landers.

Publisher: SatNow
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GNSS Constellations - A list of all GNSS satellites by constellations


Satellite NameOrbit Date
BeiDou-3 G4Geostationary Orbit (GEO)17 May, 2023
BeiDou-3 G2Geostationary Orbit (GEO)09 Mar, 2020
Compass-IGSO7Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)09 Feb, 2020
BeiDou-3 M19Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M20Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M21Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M22Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 I3Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M23Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019
BeiDou-3 M24Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019


Satellite NameOrbit Date
GSAT0223MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0224MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0219MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0220MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0221MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0222MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0215MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0216MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0217MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0218MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Kosmos 2569--07 Aug, 2023
Kosmos 2564--28 Nov, 2022
Kosmos 2559--10 Oct, 2022
Kosmos 2557--07 Jul, 2022
Kosmos 2547--25 Oct, 2020
Kosmos 2545--16 Mar, 2020
Kosmos 2544--11 Dec, 2019
Kosmos 2534--27 May, 2019
Kosmos 2529--03 Nov, 2018
Kosmos 2527--16 Jun, 2018


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Navstar 82Medium Earth Orbit19 Jan, 2023
Navstar 81Medium Earth Orbit17 Jun, 2021
Navstar 78Medium Earth Orbit22 Aug, 2019
Navstar 77Medium Earth Orbit23 Dec, 2018
Navstar 76Medium Earth Orbit05 Feb, 2016
Navstar 75Medium Earth Orbit31 Oct, 2015
Navstar 74Medium Earth Orbit15 Jul, 2015
Navstar 73Medium Earth Orbit25 Mar, 2015
Navstar 72Medium Earth Orbit29 Oct, 2014
Navstar 71Medium Earth Orbit02 Aug, 2014


Satellite NameOrbit Date
NVS-01Geostationary Orbit (GEO)29 May, 2023
IRNSS-1IInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)12 Apr, 2018
IRNSS-1HSub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO)31 Aug, 2017
IRNSS-1GGeostationary Orbit (GEO)28 Apr, 2016
IRNSS-1FGeostationary Orbit (GEO)10 Mar, 2016
IRNSS-1EGeosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)20 Jan, 2016
IRNSS-1DInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)28 Mar, 2015
IRNSS-1CGeostationary Orbit (GEO)16 Oct, 2014
IRNSS-1BInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Apr, 2014
IRNSS-1AInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)01 Jul, 2013