Golden Spike Team Includes Technical Experts, Media Figures and Politicians

The Golden Spike Company has an experienced and eclectic group of people involved in its operations. This group ranges from former Apollo Flight Director Gerry Griffin and former space shuttle program chief Wayne Hale to best-selling author Andy Chaikin and Star Trek set designer Mike Okuda.

Silicon Valley venture capitalist Esther Dyson sits on the Board of Directors with NewSpace veterans Taber MacCallum and Max Vozoff. The company’s advisors include astronaut Pete Conrad’s widow Nancy, former Congressmen Newt Gingrich and Bob Walker, and former New Mexico Governor and Spaceport America champion Bill Richardson.

Partner companies include Moon Express, Paragon Space Development Corporation, Masten Space Systems and others.

Complete lists of the company’s team members and partners follows after the break.

Golden Spike Team

Board Members

Mr. Gerry Griffin – Chairman of the Board, Apollo Flight Director, former Director of NASA Johnson Space Center, and former head of the Greater Houston Chamber of Commerce

Dr. Alan Stern – President and CEO, planetary scientist, former head of all NASA science missions, “Time Magazine 100″ honoree

Ms. Cindy Conrad – Treasurer, businesswoman and commercial space expert, formerly at NASA Headquarters Planetary Science Division and Exploration Systems Mission Directorate

Ms. Esther Dyson – NewSpace investor and venture capitalist

Mr. James R. French – propulsion and space systems expert

Mr. Doug Griffith – Board Secretary, aerospace attorney, safety/risk management expert, former U.S. Marine Corps aviator and Gulf War veteran

Mr. David Lackner – spacecraft systems engineer, former venture capitalist

Mr. Michel Loucks – expert in orbital mechanics and mission design

Mr. Taber MacCallum – life support system expert and space executive

Mr. Max Vozoff – business development expert and former program manager of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft development

Spaceflight, Scientific, and Creative Council

Mr. Jeff Ashby – former NASA space Shuttle commander, US Navy Captain and Gulf War veteran

Mr. Andy Chaikin – foremost leading space historian and author (“A Man on the Moon”)

Mr. Chuck Deiterich – aerospace engineer, former NASA flight controller, technical manager

Mr. Jeff Greason – aerospace engineer and space executive

Dr. Bill McKinnon – renowned planetary scientist

Board of Advisors

Mr. Conrad Anker – renowned mountaineer, outdoorsman, and author (“The Lost Explorer”)

Mr. Bobby Block – Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and communications expert

Mr. Michael Bostick – CEO of Walden Media (“The Chronicles of Narnia”)

Dr. Jonathan Clark – former NASA Space Shuttle flight surgeon

Mrs. Nancy Conrad – education innovator, founder of The Conrad Foundation, and widow of Apollo 12 moonwalker, Pete Conrad

Mr. Newt Gingrich – former U.S. Speaker of the House and U.S. presidential candidate; commercial space advocate

Mr. Wayne Hale – former chief of NASA’s Space Shuttle program

Mr. Homer Hickam – former NASA engineer, acclaimed author and screenwriter (“Rocket Boys”/”October Sky”/”Back to the Moon”)

Mr. Chris Kemp – former NASA Chief Information Officer, Silicon Valley internet entrepreneur

Dr. Stephen Mackwell – planetary scientist and Director, Lunar & Planetary Institute

Mr. Tod Mesirow – motion picture producer, co-founder of Five by Five Productions

Mr. Mike Okuda – Hollywood graphic designer and set designer (“Star Trek”)

Mr. Bill Richardson – former U.N. Ambassador, U.S. Secretary of Energy, Governor of New Mexico and U.S. presidential candidate;  commercial space advocate

Mr. Robert Walker – former U.S. Congressman,  chairman of the U.S. House Science Committee and chairman of the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry; commercial space advocate

Mr. Zak Williams – director of marketing, Moon Express


  • The smartest part of their plan is to target other countries as their primary customers. Countries have a lot of money and they’ll be willing to spend a lot of money for the sake of national pride.

    By looking at GSC’s transportation architecture here:
    it seems to be fairly straight forward. Launch a centaur and launch a lander. Then launch a centaur and launch a Dragon. But my estimates of cost are coming up a fair amoun lower than what they are charging.

    Atlas 5 – Centaur = $150+$30
    Falcon 9 – Lander = $54+$70

    Atlas 5 – Centaur = $150 + $30
    Falcon 9 – Dragon = $54 + $68

    Total = $606 million

    Any ideas on the additional missing costs besides development amortization, profit, insurance, operations, fuel?

  • I don’t want to clutter this up with my preferred pet architecture. Your four launch dual fuel all medium vehicle approach is something that clearly will work, but those numbers you quote seem very low. Plus putting a Centaur/RL-10 onto a Falcon Heavy stack seems iffy. I still prefer unmanned Lunar Direct polar missions as I can think of lots of great applications for large upper stages and core stages just sitting anywhere out there if they can be precisely positioned. I can also envision a greater return on investment if that 10 billion dollars were invested into more specialized large multi fuel reusable heavy lift launch vehicles, or I can always wait until 2020 for Elon to drop me off at the moon on his way to Mars. These guys are in too much of a hurry, we desperately need a small polar lander. Equatorial lunar landings and Lagrange point stations don’t even excite me at all anymore. Of course. I saw Apollo.

    If they were able to land an unmanned instrumented solar powered modern RL-10 stage on the lunar pole with a deep throttleable engine using a Falcon 9 Heavy, now that would impress me. That is the crux of the Lunar Direct approach and that would scale well with any SpaceX large launch vehicles to be developed.

  • Kelly Starks

    Given the unreliability, and well above advertized costs, of the SpaceX gear – I’ld see that as very iffy as well.

    Beyond that, this reminds me of attempts to get funding by selling the rights to put advertizing on launchers. There was virtually no interest.

  • John Griffith

    What unreliability? SpaceX has completed four flights of the Falcon 9, all of which have been successful. If you’re referring to the engine malfunction (and other smaller issues) on the last flight, I think that demonstrates the OPPOSITE of unreliability. If a craft can withstand a problem like that (that would doom many other rockets), I’d say that’s a pretty safe launching system. Plus, Golden Spike flights are still eight years away. SpaceX will have fixed all resolvable issues with the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy by then.

  • Dennis Wingo

    The only thing they lack is money, which is not likely to change.

  • Doug, about your cost numbers, I agree with you it probably can actually be done for a few hundred million dollars. The origin of the high presented cost numbers I think is that Golden Spike is composed of NASA guys. And for NASA any significant program has to have a billion dollar cost. However, SpaceX has shown by following a commercial approach development costs and flight costs can be cut by 1/5th to 1/10th that of NASA’s.
    So what I think Golden Spike should do is bring SpaceX on board. Then we would have the really exciting possibility of the flight costs being brought down perhaps to the $200 million range, especially if using the Falcon Heavy. This clearly would have a major impact on the prospect of profitability.
    The only problem might be is that Elon appears to have no interest in the Moon, being focused on Mars as the ultimate goal. However the profitability motive may sway him. There is also the fact that these missions could serve to prove the capabilities of the Dragon even for BEO missions. It could also serve to prove the value of the Falcon Heavy for launching large payload at low cost, something Elon definitely wants for getting Air Force contracts.

    Bob Clark

  • Bob, I’m a little surprised you think these costs are high. Maybe we’re not talking on the same page, but I just want to point out that these guys claims they can do this for a dev cost of 7-8 billion, now compare that to Constellation’s projected cost of, what was it, ~160 billion? I’d say they’re doing a damn fine job in terms of doing this on the cheap.

    @Kelly Starks, on your first ponit about SpaceX, are you trolling? On your second point about advertising on launchers, Russia did it successfully back in the 1990’s, with Pizza Hut paying for advertising space on the Proton rocket that launched the Zvezda module to the ISS! See

  • Elon Musk has already said that 2 flights of his Falcon Heavy can do a manned lunar landing mission, and that he can build a lunar lander for cheap around his Super Draco engines. Does anyone think that SpaceX can’t build a lunar lander from scratch for under $300-Million similar to the non-recurring costs to develop the Dragon under NASA COTS?

    This would come to $400-Million per mission to send 4 people to the Moon and 2 people to the surface.

    Why does Golden Spike need to spend $8 Billion, when most of the hardware already exists for ~ $400-Million at SpaceX?

    Why are the recurring costs $1.5-Billion per mission?

    Why would they ask for $8-Billion when they could be under contract with SpaceX for under $800-Million including non-recurring costs for the lunar lander development?

  • Robert Clark

    Nickolai, the huge costs for the Apollo missions and for the Constellation missions were because they had to develop those huge launchers, the Saturn V for Apollo and the Ares V for Constellation.
    Imagine how much reduced would have been the cost for Apollo if the *only* new thing that had to be developed was that little lander that landed on the Moon.

    Bob Clark

  • And without the time pressure (before the decade is out, and before the Soviets, whichever might happen first), which is what led them to a single HLV mission architecture to begin with.

    Without that, we might have seen a kind of EOR and orbital assembly for ‘deep space’ happen much sooner. Gemini-Agena to 850 miles with existing launchers, certainly gave us a clue…

  • EOR and orbital assembly for ‘deep space’

    There are quantitative and structural advantages to moving escape velocity boost capacity to the boosters. If you don’t believe, just look at Musk’s statements. This is especially appropriate with the insistence of total vehicle reusability. These are not going to be small launch vehicles and payloads, but they are going to be entirely reusable and serviceable in space. You just aren’t getting it.