Quantum Space announces the first cislunar mission

On October 26, Quantum Space revealed plans for its first smallsat pathfinder mission, which will gather information on orbit situational awareness. Quantum Space was established earlier this year to create spacecraft platforms in cislunar space. QS-1 refers to the smallsat mission since it is the first of many, this is what the company believes. 

The QS-1 spacecraft, slated for launch in October 2024, will operate in cislunar space and transport hosted payloads from other customers in addition to a space situational awareness payload provided by GEOST. Blue Canyon will supply the spacecraft’s bus, which will weigh up to 400 kilos.

Quantum Space’s chief technology officer, Ben Reed says that the company aims to show that they can operate and move about in cislunar space. The GEOST payload, a visible imager that will scan cislunar space, will provide the information for space domain awareness and situational awareness. In addition to securing a contract from the Space Force last year to deploy optical sensor payloads to monitor geosynchronous orbit, GEOST also develops similar sensors for additional space situational awareness missions. 

This data will make sure that, in certain volumes of space, there aren’t things that should not be there. Sometimes, it could get difficult to identify objects in space, mostly this is due to lack of tracking. As a result, tracking will become more crucial as governments and businesses throughout the world plan an increasing number of lunar missions. It will be crucial to have the ability to gather data on those items when more satellites begin to pass through that volume.

The spacecraft’s propulsion system will be “quite substantial.” Although Quantum Space has not released details on QS-1’s launch, the spacecraft will likely move between the L-2 point beyond the far side of the moon and the L-1 Lagrange point between the Earth and the moon. Over the course of its three-year mission, it will connect with private ground stations.

Quantum Space plans to launch its first spacecraft, QS-1, in the fall of 2024 to collect space situational awareness data in cislunar space.

QS-1 is the smallsat mission that Quantum Space promised would be it’s first in its February announcement of its aspirations for cislunar missions. At the time, the corporation stated that its goal was to build serviceable spaceship platforms in cislunar space known as outposts. Quantum Space is still studying what that long-term architecture will be. They are continuing to explore options and figuring out what sort of services can be provided further down the road.

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