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SpaceRadar Celebrates Partnership with Iris Lunar Rover Team

SpaceRadar, the central hub for all lunar missions, extends its appreciation to the Iris Lunar Rover team for their trailblazing efforts. SpaceRadar had initially planned to provide live mission updates and real-time insights into the Iris rover operations on the lunar surface. 

As the Iris team remarked: Embarking on the Iris Lunar Rover mission presented unforeseen challenges that demanded strategic pivoting to showcase their adaptability and innovation. Initially planned for a lunar surface landing, the mission encountered a setback due to a propellant leak from Astrobotic's Peregrine Lunar Lander, redirecting them to conduct system validation testing in cislunar orbit.

Operating in this new orbit from January 8 to January 18, they successfully tested and validated various systems. Key milestones included the testing of avionics, thermal control, serial communications, file transfer protocol, independent power management, outer wheel drive actuation, and exchanging custom messages with Iris at and near lunar distances. The mission surpassed the initial scope, providing an unprecedented opportunity to collect extensive data and command Iris for an extended period.

Peregrine's Camera D in cislunar space after Iris established 2-way communications

Despite challenges in testing WiFi, cameras, and deployment mechanisms while attached to the lander, the Iris team demonstrated resilience and rapid replanning capabilities. These adaptive measures not only affirmed the mission's success but also paved the way for future accomplishments.

The experiences and lessons learned offer valuable insights for upcoming lunar exploration missions, underlining the overall success of our mission and validating CMU's space mission capabilities while showcasing a university flight rover program. This mission signifies just the beginning for CMU in space.
Stay tuned for our upcoming missions, as we persist in pushing boundaries and contributing to the dynamic landscape of lunar exploration with resilience and innovation at the forefront of our endeavors.

-The Iris Lunar Rover Team, March 2024

Reflecting on the journey thus far, the focus remains on the achievements and milestones reached by the Iris team. Looking ahead, SpaceRadar is pleased to announce that Tejas Venkatesh, the Navigation Lead of the Iris Lunar Rover team, will be joining SpaceRadar's advisory board. His expertise and insights from the Iris mission will further bolster SpaceRadar's commitment to advancing lunar exploration and fostering collaboration within the space community.

As humanity continues to venture into space, setbacks serve not as roadblocks but as stepping stones towards greater discoveries. SpaceRadar and the Iris team continue to look forward to new adventures and pushing the boundaries of exploration beyond Earth's confines. Subscribe to our LinkedIn page to stay updated!

Header Image: Rendering of the Iris Lunar Rover on the Moon. Image from the Iris Lunar Rover Team

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