Argotec has won the announcement MARS COMMS/NAV promoted by the European Space Agency (ESA) in order to study and identify the most promising technologies in the field of Mars communications and navigation activities. The interest addressed to the red planet and all the activities connected is very high.
As the prime contractor in a consortium of European companies, Argotec will lead this one-year study promoted by ESA and at the end of the research the consortium will present the most interesting results among those investigated. These will be selected by the Agency to be developed within Mars missions.
The project is based on the idea of collocating a small satellite constellation around the red planet to support and improve all the communications to and from Mars. Specifically, the study will try to overcome the biggest obstacle of this types of missions: the conjunction between the Sun and Mars. This opposition is obtained when our star is between Mars and the Earth and this makes direct communication between the two planets difficult, if not impossible. To make up for this situation, a solution that will include a data-relay satellite will be investigated, this will allow the communication with Earth despite the opposition. In addition, to improve the navigation system, the positioning of pseudolites (pseudo-satellites) repeaters on the Martian surface will be studied.