Global Lunar optical navigation system

Design, construction and manufacturing of flying vehicles


Bagrov A. V.1*, Dmitriev A. O.2**, Leonov V. A.1***, Mitkin A. S.2****, Moscatinev I. V.2*****, Sysoev V. K.2******, Shirshakov A. E.2*******

1. Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, (INASAN), 48, Pyatnitskaya str., Moscow, 119017, Russia
2. Lavochkin Research and Production Association, NPO Lavochkin, 24, Leningradskay str., Khimki, Moscow region, 141400, Russia



The lunar surface exploration and the future construction of lunar bases should be based on a high-precision objects positioning system on the Moon, such as lunar-ships and manned vehicles. The similar-by-purpose global positioning systems operate successfully on the Earth, allowing users to determine their position anytime with an accuracy less than 5 meters. The wish to replicate the worked-out global positioning system also on the Moon seems quite natural.

Being the full analogue of the Earth version of the global satellite positioning system, the lunar global positioning system is rather very complex and expensive. It stems from the fact that operation of the whole system consisting of 8 to 18 spacecraft is required to serve even one customer.

The goal of the work consists in developing a lunar navigation system based on new principles. Such a system can be created based on optical-electronic surveillance systems and light laser beacons.

An optical navigation system including lunar reference points, a SPACECRAFT at the Lagrange point and an auxiliary SPACECRAFT on the lunar is to be developed.

This goal achieving is realized due to the main components, including the scientific novelty of the project:

  1. Creating the frame of the selenodetic coordinate system with the axes reference to point reference points (light laser beacons) on the Moon (included in the “Luna-global” and “Luna-Resource” programs).

  2. Installing the new control light laser beacons with retroreflectors in the explored areas of the Moon (3-5 PCs or more, depending on the place of operation). It is necessary, that of the control beacons positions would be consistently affixed to the LRO lunar images, to obtain a topographic map of the Moon.

  3. Accommodation of the Lagrange points of opto-electronic instruments for continuous monitoring of the spacecraft on the lunar surface.

  4. Periodic control of the frame selenocentric coordinate system in its current state on a running light laser beacons (while polar-orbiting lunar satellites operation).

The objects global positioning system on the Moon surface, employing the frame selenocentric coordinate system, can provide measurements in real time, if the optional azimuth tool is placed in the libration points.


global positioning, navigation on the Moon, luminous laser beacon, optical interferometer


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