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Press Release

Psionic Navigation Doppler Lidar Selected for Masten’s Next Mission to the Moon

January 11, 2022

MOJAVE, CA and HAMPTON, VA, January 11, 2022—Psionic today announced it has been selected by Masten Space Systems to provide Psionic Navigation Doppler Lidar (PNDL) for Masten’s next mission to the Moon. This is the first to use Psionic’s new architecture, which is 50% smaller and requires 40% less power than the prior NASA design.

“In addition to being significantly smaller, our new PNDL supports several functions” said Steve Sandford, founder and CTO of Psionic. “Specifically, our new architecture supports terrain relative navigation (TRN), altimetry, velocimetry, and scanning with a single unit and up to eight optical heads—all with 40% less power.”

Psionic is NASA’s licensee for the underlying patents for Navigation Doppler Lidar (NDL). With four Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) missions already scheduled to use the NASA Langley NDL, this will be the fifth NDL to help robotic spacecraft land on the Moon. It’s also the second navigation Doppler lidar Psionic is providing to Masten and the first with Psionic’s new reduced SWaP design.

Psionic will soon deliver the first NASA-designed NDL for Masten’s first lunar mission scheduled to launch in late 2023. As part of the CLPS program, Masten’s Xelene lunar lander will deliver government and commercial payloads to the lunar south pole to help assess the composition of the lunar surface, detect lunar volatiles, and evaluate radiation in advance of human missions.

“Masten Mission 1 will be the first of many Masten missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond,” said Sean Mahoney, CEO of Masten Space Systems. “Simultaneous, we’re also preparing for Masten Mission 2 by ordering long-lead parts for the next iteration of Xelene from trusted vendors like Psionic. Psionic has been a reliable partner, and we look forward to continuing this partnership for our next mission to the Moon.”

About Psionic

Psionic Navigation Doppler Lidar provides advanced precision navigation for Space exploration and Defense applications in the most challenging environments. The company, based in Hampton, Virginia, was founded in 2016 by the engineers and scientists who worked on Doppler lidar at NASA for more than a decade.  More information about Psionic’s solutions for Space is at

About Masten Space Systems

Masten Space Systems is the space infrastructure company enabling sustainable access and utilization of the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Founded in 2004, Masten has been building and flying reusable rockets for nearly two decades with the most successful rocket-powered landings in the industry. The company is now applying its terrestrial flight experience to lunar missions that will accelerate space ecosystems and enable new commercial applications. Masten’s end-to-end mission solutions include everything from tech development and rocket testing to off-Earth delivery and operations. Based in Mojave, California, Masten aims to unlock the value in space to benefit humans on Earth, starting with Masten Mission 1 to the lunar south pole. For more information, visit

Masten Space Systems
Space—Landing and Relanding

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