To Win Google Lunar X Prize, Astrobotic Technology Goes Big


While many of the competitors for the Google Lunar X Prize are building rather small vehicles to keep costs down, Astrobotic Technology has gone in the other direction in order to maximize revenues.

In addition to delivering a rover, Astrobotic’s lander can carry up to 110 kg of third-party payload to the lunar surface. At a cost of between $1.8 million to $2 million per kilogram, a fully sold out mission would earn Astrobotic around $200 million in revenues – more than enough to pay for the mission.

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Astrobotic Wins NASA Award to Study Lunar and Martian Lava Tubes, Caves

PITTSBURGH, PA – Astrobotic PR – NASA today selected Astrobotic Technology Inc. to research breakthroughs in methods to explore lava tubes, caves and recently discovered “skylights” leading down into these features on the Moon and Mars.

Lava tubes and other types of caves can shelter astronauts and robots from harsh off-world environments, which on the Moon means micrometeorite bombardment, intense radiation and extreme temperature swings of 500 degrees from day to night. Cave-dwelling by early astronauts and robots likely will be less expensive than bringing shelter materials all the way from Earth.

Astrobotic Technology, in cooperation with Carnegie Mellon University, is preparing a robotic expedition to the Moon to be launched in the December 2013 – July 2014 time frame.

Astrobotic was one of 30 companies, universities and NASA organizations that were selected for negotiation today by the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program in the Office of Chief Technologist. The approximately $100,000 award is to cover a year-long study starting next month.

Astrobotic will be eligible for a $500,000 Phase 2 award next year to continue the work.

Robotic Space Exploration: The Next Policy Battleground?

Bruce Springsteen (Credit: Helge Øverås)

On May 9, 1974, a little known band opened for Bonnie Raitt at the Harvard Square Theater in Cambridge. As luck should have it, influential music critic Jon Landau was in the audience as the group ripped through a set. “I saw my rock and roll past flash before my eyes,” he later wrote. “I saw something else: I saw rock and roll’s future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”

I think I witnessed a similar moment last night. Not in a smoky theater in Massachusetts, but in a conference room on the other side of the continent. And it involved not rock and roll but space.

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Astrobotic Signs Contract for Falcon 9 Launch to Moon

ASTROBOTIC PRESS RELEASE

Astrobotic Technology Inc. today announced it has signed a contract with SpaceX to launch Astrobotic’s robotic payload to the Moon on a Falcon 9.   The expedition will search for water and deliver payloads, with the robot narrating its adventure while sending 3D video.  The mission could launch as soon as December 2013.

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Three Google Lunar X PRIZE Competitors Awarded Lunar NASA Contracts

X PRIZE PRESS RELEASE

Today, NASA announced that it purchased data related to innovative lunar missions from three private firms. All three contracts, valued at $500,000 each, were awarded to teams competing for the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE: Astrobotic Technology Inc of Pittsburgh, PA; Moon Express Inc. of Mountain View, CA; and the Rocket City Space Pioneers (through their team member Dynetics Inc.) of Hunstville, AL. The contracts mark the first of several through NASA’s $30 million Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data project, managed by the Johnson Space Center near Houston, TX.

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Astrobotic Celebrates NASA Lunar Data Award

ASTROBOTIC PRESS RELEASE

NASA has awarded the initial half-million-dollar task order from a $10 million NASA contract to Astrobotic Technology for a robotic expedition to the Moon.

“The amazingly short turnaround between proposal and award are a testament to NASA’s support for lunar commerce companies like ours,” said Dr. William “Red” Whittaker, chairman of Astrobotic Technology.

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British Entreprenuer Julian Ranger Backs Astrobotic in Google Lunar X Prize

PRESS RELEASE
Sept. 28, 2010

Julian Ranger, a British entrepreneur, has given his backing to Astrobotic Technology, one of 22 teams competing to put a robot on the moon and win the Google Lunar X PRIZE. All 22 teams meet on 4 & 5 October on the Isle of Man to reveal their progress.

The Google Lunar X PRIZE is a $30 million international competition to land a robot on the surface of the Moon safely, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send images and data back to the Earth.

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