NASA PROGRAM UPDATE
NASA has issued delivery orders to three companies as part of its Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data (ILDD) project. Each order is worth $500,000 and will help develop vehicle capabilities and demonstrate end-to-end robotic lunar landing missions.
The three companies selected are:
— Astrobotic Technology Inc., Pittsburgh
— Dynetics Inc., Huntsville, Ala.
— Moon Express Inc., San Francisco .
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has an update on Astrobotics lunar mining plans, including interviews with Red Whittaker and David Gump:
Astrobotic’s planned 2014 mission consists of a robot that would use a circular bucket wheel and a large bin to collect lunar soil for the inaugural attempt to mine the moon at its south pole, said Chris Skonieczny, Astrobotic’s principal researcher and a CMU doctoral candidate in robotics.
ASTROBOTIC PRESS RELEASE
NASA has selected Astrobotic Technology and Carnegie Mellon University to develop a prototype robot for mining water and methane ices at the Moonâ€™s poles. These volatiles can refuel astronautsâ€™ spacecraft for their return trip to Earth, halving the cost of human Moon expeditions.