Golden Spike Partners With Draper Lab to Conduct Lunar Landing Site Studies

golden_spike_landerBOULDER, CO, January 22, 2014 (Golden Spike PR) – The Golden Spike Company—the world’s first enterprise planning to undertake human lunar expeditions for countries, corporations and individuals— announced today a partnership with Draper Laboratory to examine the range of landing sites that Golden Spike can offer for its commercial human missions to the Moon.

Draper provides advanced Guidance, Navigation and Control (GN&C) systems, high-performance, reliable space science instruments, and processing systems for NASA and the U.S. military. Draper provided similar landing site selection studies to NASA’s Constellation lunar landing program.

The study with Draper is one of a number that Golden Spike is undertaking with industry partners in preparation for future flight system procurements. Market studies already conducted for the company show the possibility of 15 to 25 expeditions in the decade following a first commercial landing.

Working with technical staff at Golden Spike, Draper engineers will:

  • Evaluate the compatibility of the Golden Spike lander concepts to determine how the constraints of safely landing, lighting, terrain, orbit, delta-V capability, etc. affect the fraction of the lunar front side available as potential landing areas
  • Evaluate potential enhancements to the Golden Spike landers that may further increase the potential area available for landing
  • Define a recommended notional architecture for Golden Spike lunar mission guidance system including functional allocation, algorithms functionality and electronic architecture

The results of the work will be complete by mid-2014.

“We’re proud to be working with Draper, the gold standard for lunar mission landing site selection, dating from Apollo to the present,” said Dr. S. Alan Stern, Golden Spike’s President and CEO.

“Draper has provided the GNC and flight computers, for all crewed lunar landings. We are excited to bring this expertise to assist Golden Spike in its ambitious objective of opening the lunar frontier,” said Draper study lead John West.

  • jb

    love to see a launcher study.. with lander masses and such..The landing sites..while they are of interest..it is a ..well..how do I say it.. a “yawn” compared to other unknowns of the misson profile…..lets talk hardware

  • Steven Hunt

    “Draper provided similar landing site selection studies to NASA’s Constellation lunar landing program.”

    Couldn’t they be saving money by evaluating the taxpayer-funded study that’s already been made, and then focusing their efforts on building actual hardware? I doubt that Altair had exotic requirements for terrain or delta-V…

  • Stuart

    I agree Best, a launcher study would be good but with the SpaceX revolution currently rumbling on they may well be waiting for Falcon Heavy to become established.

    As for a lander they’re just pretty pictures at the moment.

    A landing site study will probably be a game of pin the tail on the donkey at the moment…. I am joking honestly.

    Who chose the site for the recent Chinese lunar landing?

  • Hug Doug

    Well, one of the goals behind Constellation was to establish a base near the lunar south pole. so they’d be studying landing sites there for NASA.

    I imagine they are looking at lunar equatorial sites for Golden Spike, which actually require less delta-V to go to.

  • mfck

    Last thing Golden Spike want is them and the Constellation program in the same article…

  • windbourne

    China chose it. IIRC, it was based on minerals.

  • windbourne

    While delta-v would be less, I would think that Spike would want the poles for one simple reason: Energy.
    Unless they are using nukes, they are out of work for 2-3 weeks out of 4 weeks.

  • Hug Doug

    what? do you honestly think that Golden Spike will be doing launches every 3 days? in the above: there’s the “possibility of 15 to 25 expeditions in the decade following a first commercial landing.”

    i think they can pick and choose what lunar day they want to go.

  • windbourne

    How will they power the robots on the surface during the cold nighttime?

  • Stuart

    Indeed how will they get kit to work in “high noon heat” on the moon. Apollo missions were timed to take place ont a particular day in the Moon cycle.

  • Tonya

    At the moment, they’re only developing concepts for sortie missions of a few days to the nearside during daytime. The constraints are pretty similar to Apollo.

  • Tonya

    As I understand it, the proposed rovers will collect samples in advance of the human sortie mission. That may mean they’ll operate over several months, but they’ll just hunker down and hibernate for the two weeks of night as most lunar probes have done in the past.

    TBD is whether they’ll still require small nuclear heaters (not electric generating) or that the material science has now advanced enough that they may not be needed. The amount of nuclear material necessary is quite small when it’s used purely for heat.

  • mzungu

    How this comes ahead of all the hundreds of other things they need to accomplish in their Gantt Chart/strategy is beyond me, in terms of project management.

  • Hug Doug

    i’d say part of an effective sales pitch for tourism is “we’ll take you HERE” with a nice map of the area all highlighted and colorful, etc. true for Hawaii or the Moon!

  • mzungu

    I doubt that any moon tourist cared where on the moon they land…

  • Hug Doug

    ok. book a trip to Russia sometime. tell them you don’t care where you go.

  • windbourne

    Not the same thing.

  • Hug Doug

    obviously. it’s an analogy.

  • windbourne

    yeah, but not a matching one.

  • Hug Doug

    close enough.

  • windbourne

    Not really. Plenty of places in russia to go to, and loads of civilization. In addition, plenty of ppl have gone and live in Russia.
    There is NO civilization on the moon, only 17 men have been on it, and simply being able to say that you have been on the moon will put you in a unique class for the next 30-50 years.

  • Hug Doug

    exactly. now imagine your travel agent said they had no idea where their plane is going to go.

  • windbourne

    You mean the way that Pac West used to do ‘mystery’ rides?
    It was a cool idea that worked great.

  • Hug Doug

    i don’t know what that is, but it sounds terrible.

    generally if you call a travel agent, you say “i want to go to Russia” they say “sure, we’ve got flights to Moscow, Kiev, Vladivostok, Omsk,” etc.

    so Golden Spike looking to find good places to land on the Moon is not surprising. it’s a good business idea. now they can say “we offer travel to Mare Ibrium, Mare Sereninatis, Mare Tranquilitatis, and Copernicus Crater,” or whatever.

    it’s not that difficult of an analogy. i’m shocked i had to spell it out for you.