Defense Giant Launches Moon Satellite Company

The defense giant wants to provide lunar communication and navigation.

The world’s largest defense contractor this week announced the formation of a new subsidiary that aims to provide the communications systems needed as humanity returns to the Moon — potentially for good — in coming years. Lockheed Martin said Crescent Space Services LLC would provide “infrastructure-as-a-service” for lunar missions.

Company officials said that in the future, that would mean a range of services to enable exploration, scientific work, and even commerce — both on the Moon and deeper into space. Its first efforts, however, will be a communication and navigation network known as Parsec. Lockheed will deliver the Parsec spacecraft to Crescent, who will launch a constellation of small lunar satellites that will, collectively, provide continuous connection between Earth and the Moon’s surface and orbit.

Joe Landon, the Crescent chief executive who formerly led Lockheed’s space exploration strategy, told the Wall Street Journal that Parsec would also effectively serve as a GPS network for the Moon.

The company reportedly filed plans for Parsec with the Federal Communications Commission earlier this month; executives did not disclose how much funding Lockheed was putting into the new subsidiary.

The first nodes for the Parsec network will launch in 2025; NASA’s Artemis III mission — intended to return humans to the lunar surface for the first time in more than 50 years — is currently slated to launch in December of that year.

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