Astrobotic Unveils New Lunar Lander, Partners with Airbus & DHL

Peregrine lunar lander (Credit: Astrobotic)
Peregrine lunar lander (Credit: Astrobotic)
  • DHL to manage logistics along the entire supply chain
  • Airbus Defence and Space to contribute engineering support for lander design
  • Astrobotic unveils new peregrine lunar lander

BERLIN (DHL PR) — Astrobotic, which is building a service to make the Moon accessible to the world, today announces that DHL and Airbus Defence and Space are supporting Astrobotic to develop its lunar payload delivery service.

Deutsche Post DHL Group will become the “Official Logistics Provider for Astrobotic’s First Mission to the Moon.” DHL will provide logistics services for Astrobotic’s spacecraft and its customer payloads, making sure that all materials for the new lunar lander as well as the ‘space freight’ will arrive safe and on time to begin their journey to the Moon.

“DHL has a proud history of connecting its customers to the world. Moon exploration is also a theme that has a special historical significance for us – DHL was founded in 1969, the year of the first moon landing. Today, we are excited to be embarking upon this incredible venture into the next era of logistics – beyond Earth and to the Moon. Having played a pioneering role in logistics for many years, we are looking forward to partnering with Astrobotic to open a new frontier in space, and to further developing lunar logistics in the future,” said Arjan Sissing, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Marketing, Deutsche Post DHL Group.

Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second largest space company, will contribute initial engineering support to Astrobotic through a Memorandum of Understanding, as the company advances its lunar lander design to a preliminary design review. Airbus Defence and Space brings world-class spacecraft experience in human spaceflight and exploration and leverages previous lander development work with the European Space Agency.

DHL will provide logistics services for Astrobotic’s spacecraft

“Airbus Defence and Space clearly regards Astrobotic as the front runner in commercial lunar transportation services. With our signed Memorandum of Understanding we have now the opportunity to assess options to further strengthen this cooperation and to become a true partner in the global endeavor to provide a commercial gateway to the moon”, remarked Bart Reijnen, Senior Vice President of On-Orbit Services & Exploration.

Together, this team will advance the technical maturity of the new “Peregrine” Lunar Lander towards the next big development milestone. Peregrine builds on eight years of Astrobotic lunar lander development, and will carry Astrobotic’s first delivery of payloads to the lunar surface. Peregrine will fly as a secondary payload on its first mission, with the ability to fly Astrobotic’s future missions thereafter. Peregrine offers mission flexibility with a 30 to 265 kilogram payload capacity. This enables secondary flights on several different launch vehicles. The lander will be powered with an Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion system featuring next generation space engine technology.

These announced partnerships build on an already existing Astrobotic relationship with NASA, through the Lunar CATALYST Program. NASA Lunar CATALYST provides Astrobotic access to some of the best spacecraft engineers and facilities in the world, as part of NASA’s effort to encourage the development of U.S. commercial robotic lunar lander capabilities.

“Today’s announcement marks a new era in commercial lunar activity. With Airbus Defence and Space, DHL, Aerojet Rocketdyne and NASA, Astrobotic has built a team of legends. Make no mistake that Astrobotic has built a world-class team to make the Moon accessible to the world with the Peregrine Lander,” stated John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic.

  • P.K. Sink

    That’s all very interesting. But can they afford to buy a launch? And can they afford a few failures?

  • Geoff T

    6 months to declare a launch contract, or else it becomes a two horse race between Moon Express and SpaceIL. Maybe Astrobiotic can conjur up a market beyong the GLXP though?

  • ThomasLMatula

    On a related note today is the 50th Anniversary of Surveyor landing on the Moon. It will be interesting to see if the Google Lunar X-Prize will generate the same interest.

  • ThomasLMatula

    That has always been the barrier, raising enough for a launch vehicle. The rest, a lander and rover, are within the realm of the prize costing less to that amount to develop and build. But the launch is the $50 million to $100 million barrier.

  • P.K. Sink

    The only way that I can see this contest kickstarting a Lunar industry, is if Google were to buy a bunch of flights on previously flown Falcons, and offer rides to the qualified contestants.

  • P.K. Sink

    They’re sure trying like hell to do just that.

  • ThomasLMatula

    I agree. It’s a pity Google decided to go with the gimmick of a prize instead of simply funding a firm to put a rover on the Moon for them. If they had it would have been done many years ago.