Golden Spike Looks to Engage Public in Moon Trip

13 Comments


The Golden Spike Company plans to have a very significant public participation role in its plan to return humans to the moon by 2020, according to informed sources.

The goal is to give the general public a ringside seat to not only the flight but also the development and construction of the hardware involved, sources said.
Golden Spike is going to involve a very significant public participation role in the lunar mission.

The company has signed up a number of prominent media figures to be involved in the effort. Golden Spike will also focus on generating interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers in the same way that the Apollo program inspired students in the 1960s.

Officials will unveil their plans for human trips to the moon on Thursday at a  press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., at 2 p.m. EST.

NASASpaceflight.com, which first broke the news, reports that “the effort is led by a group of high profile individuals from the aerospace industry and backed by some big money and foreign investors.”

S. Alan Stern, the former NASA science chief who now works for the Southwest Research Institute, is the registered agent for the company, which is located in Colorado and incorporated in Delaware.

NASASpaceflight.com has also reported that:

The company intends to use “existing or soon to be existing launch vehicles, spacecraft, upper stages, and technologies” to start their commercial manned lunar campaign.

The details point to the specific use of US vehicles, with a basic architecture to utilize multiple launches to assemble spacecraft in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The details make direct reference to the potential use of propellant depots and fuel transfer technology.

Additional notes include a plan to park elements in lunar orbit, staging a small lunar lander that would transport two commercial astronauts to the surface for short stays.

The architecture would then grow into the company’s long-term ambitions to establish a man-tended outpost using inflatable modules. It is also understood that the company has already begun the design process for the Lunar Lander.

The name “golden spike” has historical resonance for anyone building a transportation system. The Golden Spike was a ceremonial final spike driven by Leland Stanford to join the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads on May 10, 1869 at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory. This act completed America’s first transcontinental railroad, uniting the nation from coast to coast.

  • Jason

    The press conference is Dec. 6, not tomorrow.

  • John Griffith

    After the PR successes of MSL, Red Bull Stratos, and others, I don’t think any future space-related missions will go WITHOUT public engagement. Almost every major NASA program has a public relations component; the JSC Morpheus team created an iPhone game, for example.

    Unfortunately, getting young people (teenagers, for example) interested in STEM fields is not as easy as doing something cool. In order to create a new generation of engineers, astronauts, and scientists, we need to shed the misconception that rocket science is only for a select few who are born for the job. Many people will see a Golden Spike astronaut in 2020 and think, “I could never be that smart.” As a teenager, I can say that I’ve seen or heard this mentality dozens of times. The best PR campaigns are the ones that don’t portray scientists as “God-like,” but simply normal people who worked hard to get to their current position. Hopefully Golden Spike is accounting for this as they prepare for what will (hopefully) become the greatest engineering achievement of the 21st century.

  • http://LunarCOTS.com DougSpace

    So…are they hoping to crowd-source this program all the way through? With the public involvement be a paying public involvement?

  • Boyplunder

    This is starting to sound the same as MarsOne. The private aim to set up a Mars outpost in the next decade. With soon to go Virgin Galactic and SpaceX, I can see this is actually working. The SpaceX heavy lifter would surely manage all of it in the LEO.

  • Greg Holden

    Hi Doug, it is a company for profit, so at a guess (and this is a guess) I would say they will have a paying element but also a free element of participation. I’m thinking of Planetary Resources here who have a public engagement element but a paying crowd sourcing element also where they are planning to give access to people who fund them time on one of their satellites (or build one specifically for the public if they generate enough revenue)… I guess we will have to wait and see exactly what their plans are tomorrow.

  • http://www.parabolicarc.com Doug Messier

    I think this is a lot more serious than MarsOne. There has been no mention of crowd sourcing, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

  • Kelly Starks

    If Musk couldn’t even raise enough money and talent to build his boosters and capsule and needed a gov bailout to fund it all — how are these guys going to fund a maned moon mission?

  • Robert Horning

    I think that people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos has shown that there is money to be made in space, and it is very likely that Golden Spike is going to be where those with more investment capital will start to make their big move.

    Many of those who have been following and supporting private commercial spaceflight have been saying for years that there was money to be made in space. Well, it looks like some people with capital necessary to pull off these kind of ventures might just be getting into the game.

  • Greg Holden

    Robert, I’m with you there. As they say, you have to speculate to accumalate, and I’ve heard an increasing clamour of speculation in recent years, as many people have been following comercial space will attest. Let’s hope this bubble doesn’t get too big and disappoint!

  • Guest

    If Musk couldn’t even raise enough money and talent to build his boosters and capsule and needed a gov bailout to fund it all

    That’s obvious FUD and obviously false. Musk didn’t need anything from the government and has had no problems procuring capital and qualified staff. The NASA money was simply low hanging fruit as there were more or less no other qualified takers. What did you expect him to do, deny the prize after he clearly earned it? Not only did he earn his awards, he invested them wisely. That’s more than I can say for you. His designs were on the books well before he participated in competitions in which SAA money and contracts were awarded in good faith and via actual demonstrations of competence and fidelity.

  • http://cosmic.lifeform.org Thomas Lee Elifritz

    If Musk couldn’t even raise enough money and talent to build his boosters and capsule and needed a gov bailout to fund it all

    That’s obvious FUD and obviously false. Musk didn’t need anything from the government and has had no problems procuring capital and qualified staff. The NASA money was simply low hanging fruit as there were more or less no other qualified or willing takers. What did you expect him to do, deny the prize after he clearly earned it? Not only did he earn his awards, he invested them wisely. That’s more than I can say for you. His designs were on the books well before he participated in competitions in which SAA money and contracts were awarded in good faith and via actual demonstrations of competence and fidelity.

    Sorry if this is a repeat post, I’m having trouble identifying which space forums where I am banned for life and which space forums where I am not banned.

  • http://cosmic.lifeform.org Thomas Lee Elifritz

    Ok, thanks for that, and I notice the spelling is Melott. I will read it directly.

  • http://cosmic.lifeform.org Thomas Lee Elifritz

    Please ignore that, I can’t even keep my forums straight anymore.

    Perhaps I should just quit writing entirely, that would make everyone happy.