British partnership to send low-cost satellites to Moon's orbit

The Moon Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The project will see a 'mother ship' take satellites up beyond Earth's orbit

A British partnership has announced plans for low-cost lunar missions and space exploration.

Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd plan to send a "mother ship" to transport satellites beyond Earth's orbit.

It is being called a "new model of low-cost, high-value, space exploration".

The SSTL-GES Lunar Pathfinder team wants the project to appeal to organisations worldwide, including space agencies.

Image caption Goonhilly's antenna on the Lizard peninsula can 'see' satellites from as far away as the US and Asia

SSTL's executive chairman, Sir Martin Sweeting, said he hoped the project would address the high cost of sending satellites to space - "a common barrier to the international development and exploration of our local solar system".

Goonhilly Earth Station is upgrading one of its antennas as part of the development of a commercial deep space network and will provide a mission operations centre in Cornwall.

Dr Tamela Maciel, from the National Space Centre in Leicester, said the project would provide exciting opportunities.

"It would be exciting to see the science that's coming out of it, but also the educational possibilities.

"Imagine if you're a university student and you get to work on developing a mini satellite that's going to be sent to the Moon...

"How amazing would that be to put on your CV?"

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