GLXP Competitor Next Giant Leap Gets $1 Million to Build Lunar Hoppers

Move Over, Rover: Next Giant Leap Gets $1 Million Grant To Build Hopping Moon Landers
Tech Crunch

Next Giant Leap in Boulder, Colorado— a startup that’s making robots that will land and hop around on the surfaces of other planets in order to gather data, detect resources valuable to humans, and more — attained a $1 million grant from the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, to advance their technology and pursue the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize in 2012, the companies revealed today.

One of Next Giant Leap’s team members, Seamus Tuohy (also Draper’s director of space systems) explained what NGL is working on and its potential uses:

“We’re developing critical technology for landing and hopping, both to satisfy the rules for the Google Lunar X Prize, and to provide an innovative, regional-scale science measurement capability. Unlike rovers that go to a single point on the surface of a planet, and then maybe two kilometers away and back, retreating if something is in the way, these would land, then ascend a bit, do a translation, traverse above the terrain to land in another spot. The lander-hopper we’re building is about the size of a coffee table, not a car.”

With this grant, the NGL team, led by founder Michael Joyce, has raised about $1.5 million, including an investment of $200,000 by the team’s founder Michael Joyce, a $100,000 from Jolted Media Group Ltd., a $30,000 grant from eSpace an incubator program for space startups, and $125,000 from Sierra Nevada Corporation.

Read the full story.