NASA plans to launch three satellites into Mars orbit. They will be used as a means of communication for transmitting data to Earth, and the commercial services will offset the costs that satellites will provide.
NASA plans to launch a network of commercial satellites that could serve as a communications relay system for future missions. The devices will be useful for finding subsurface ice in 2030.
In their latest reports, NASA officials discuss the possibility of working with industry to launch several satellites into orbit around Mars, SpaceNews noted. They can serve as repeaters for other missions, such as mapping the planet’s surface. According to them, such satellites can increase the amount of data received by researchers on Earth and help update aging scientific vehicles.
One of the proposals is to launch three satellites in equatorial orbits at an altitude of 6,000 km. These satellites will be equipped with radio communications for communication with other spacecraft in orbit and on the surface of the Earth and communication with researchers on our planet. The satellites can be equipped with laser inter-satellite links, allowing them to communicate with each other.
NASA does not indicate how much it may cost to build and maintain such satellites. “This is an atypical expense for the agency, but we believe this is a tremendous opportunity for us and the future of Mars,” said Rick Davis, assistant director of science and research at NASA’s Science Missions Directorate.
NASA also plans to recoup some of the costs through new commercial service use models for future communications with surface objects on Mars in the late 2020s and early 2030s. They may include “commercial services inside future ground objects on Mars.”