Goonhilly Unveils Roadmap for Commercial Space Communications, Exploration & More

Highlights:

  • Goonhilly to launch new services thanks to recent £32.4 million in investment and contract wins
  • Space and satellite industries, video service providers, enterprises and universities to benefit from new applications on Earth, in near space and deep space
  • Expansion plans include facilities in US and Australia to support deep space ambitions
  • Green data centre will offer co-location with satellite, sub-sea cable and fibre connectivity

CORNWALL, UK (Goonhilly Earth Station PR) — Satellite communications innovator and space gateway, Goonhilly Earth Station, today launched its roadmap and outlined developments which will galvanise its position in the satellite industry and place it firmly at the vanguard of the new space economy driven by private investment and solid growth performance. With the agility of a start-up yet with many science and technology firsts under its belt, this roadmap underpins the firm’s ambition to become a world-leading space connectivity nexus and centre of innovation.

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Astrobotic Selects Dynetics as Propulsion Provider for the Peregrine Lunar Lander

Peregrine lunar lander (Credit: Astrobotic)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Astrobotic PR)– Astrobotic proudly announces today during the 49th anniversary week of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing that the company has selected Dynetics of Huntsville, Alabama as the propulsion provider for its Peregrine Lunar Lander.

Peregrine will return America to the Moon for the first time since Apollo and begin delivering customer payloads once a year starting in 2020. Dynetics will integrate Peregrine’s main engines and attitude control thrusters, controller electronics, tanks, and feed system into a single system that performs all propulsive maneuvers from cruise to soft landing on the Moon.

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Astrobotic, Carnegie Mellon University Project Aims to Control Multiple Planetary Robots

CubeRover on the moon (Credit: Astrobotic)

Astrobotic Technology and Carnegie Mellon University will develop methods that will allow planetary rovers to work together to explore the surface of other worlds under a NASA contract.

The space agency selected a proposal by the partners for funding under the Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) program. The 13-month contract is worth a maximum of $125,000.

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Astrobotic Applauds House Appropriations Committee for Full Funding to Lead America Back to the Moon

CubeRover on the moon (Credit: Astrobotic)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic applauds Chairman John Culberson (R-TX), Ranking Member Jose Serrano (D-NY) and the entire House Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee for their strong support for NASA and its efforts to return America to the surface of the Moon in the FY 2019 CJS Appropriations bill. The bill, which provides a record $21.5 billion for NASA, was released yesterday evening and will be marked up by the Subcommittee at 5 pm today.

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Astrobotic, Surrey Satellite & Goonhilly Agreed to Expand Lunar Communications Opportunities

A mission concept to enter and explore a skylight on the Moon using Tyrobot. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. & CORNWALL/GUILDFORD, UK (Surrey Satellite/Astrobotic/GES PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), Goonhilly Earth Station (GES) and Astrobotic today announce an agreement to collaborate on delivering a roadmap of innovations that support organisations carrying out operations on and around the Moon.

The trio jointly announced their landmark partnership at the 34th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. The agreement formalises a long-term close working relationship between the three organisations with the aim of deploying leading edge in-space communication relay services.

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Astrobotic Awarded NASA Contract to Develop CubeRover for Lunar Missions

CubeRover on the moon (Credit: Astrobotic)

Pittsburgh, PA (Astrobotic PR) – Astrobotic, in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, has been selected by NASA for a Phase II SBIR Award to develop CubeRover, a class of 2-kg rover platform capable of small-scale science and exploration on the Moon and other planetary surfaces. This new small rover platform complements Astrobotic’s lunar payload delivery service by providing a low-cost mobility capability to the lunar surface for customers around the world.

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NASA Selects 3 ISRU Projects for SBIR Funding

CubeRover on the moon (Credit: Astrobotic)

NASA has selected three proposed focused on a miniaturized lunar rover and extraction of CO2 from the martian atmosphere under the space agency’s Small Business Research Innovation (SBIR) Phase II program.

Astrobotic, Air Squared and TDA Research were selected for two-year contracts worth up to $750,000 apiece to pursue projects focused on the moon and Mars. Each company previously received funding for its in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) project under the first phase of the SBIR program.

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The GLXP is Dead! Long Live the GLXP!

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

This past week, the XPrize acknowledged the obvious:  after 10 years and multiple deadline extensions, none of the five remaining teams was going to claim the Google Lunar X Prize by landing a privately-built vehicle on the moon that would travel 500 meters across the surface while sending back high-definition video.

The first team to accomplish that goal would have claimed $20 million; the second, $5 million. But, unlike the moon race of the 1960’s, Google’s much hyped moon shot ended not with the deafening roar of a launch but the deadening silence of a dream deferred.

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Time Running Out to Win Google Lunar X Prize

Lunar rover (Credit: TeamIndus)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The clock is ticking for the remaining teams in the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize competition.

Barring another extension, they have until March 31 to land a vehicle on moon and travel 500 meters across it to claim the $20 million first prize or $5 million second prize. It’s not clear whether any of them will make the deadline.

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Astrobotic’s Progress in NASA’s Lunar CATALYST Program

Peregrine lunar lander (Credit: Astrobotic)

Astrobotic is one of three companies NASA has signed agreements with for the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (Lunar CATALYST) program.

“The purpose of the Lunar CATALYST initiative is for NASA to encourage the development of U.S. private-sector robotic lunar landers capable of successfully delivering small (30 to 100 kg) and medium (250 to 500 kg) class payloads to the lunar surface using U.S. commercial launch capabilities,” the agreement states.

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Animation of Astrobotic’s Planned Lunar Flight

Video Caption: Astrobotic and United Launch Alliance (ULA) proudly announce today that Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lunar Lander will be onboard a ULA launch vehicle in 2019, during the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.

Astrobotic & ATLAS Announce Lunar Laser Communications Payload


PARIS (Astrobotic PR) – Astrobotic, which is making the Moon accessible to the world, and ATLAS Space Operations Inc., the US leader in cloud-based satellite management and control services proudly announce today at the Paris Air Show that they have signed a payload reservation and partnership to deliver and operate the first-ever laser communications terminal on Astrobotic’s upcoming mission to the Moon. This brings the total number of deals in place for Astrobotic’s mission to eleven.

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Astrobotic Hires Principal Systems Engineer


PITTSBURGH – Astrobotic, a lunar logistics company that is making the Moon accessible to the world, announces the selection of space veteran Kit Grabbe as its Principal Systems Engineer. Grabbe will serve as the technical lead on the Peregrine Lunar Lander system. Combined with four other recent space veteran hires, Astrobotic has added more than 80 years of space experience to its team in the last 9 months.

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Astrobotic to Develop CubeRover Standard for Planetary Surface Mobility

CubeRover on the moon (Credit: Astrobotic)

PITTSBURGH, May 4, 2017 (Astrobotic PR) – Astrobotic, in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, has been selected by NASA to develop CubeRover, a class of 2-kg rover platforms capable of small-scale science and exploration on planetary surfaces. The team will design a CubeRover capable of evaluating lunar lander ejecta and characterizing surface mobility. CubeRover will establish a new standard for small-scale surface-deployable science and exploration platforms.

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NASA Seeks Information on Commercial Moon Missions

GOES-16 captured this view of the moon as it looked above the surface of the Earth on January 15. Like earlier GOES satellites, GOES-16 will use the moon for calibration. (Credits: NOAA/NASA)

NASA has issued a request for information (RFI) about commercial missions capable of carrying NASA payloads to the lunar surface.

“The requirement is to provide a commercial launch and landing service on existing or forthcoming FAA licensed commercial missions to the lunar surface for NASA primary payloads, NASA secondary payloads, or NASA hosted payloads, with the potential to also procure data from any commercial lunar surface missions and/or return payloads or samples to the Earth,” the RFI states.

“NASA has identified a variety of exploration, science, and technology demonstration objectives that could be addressed by sending instruments, experiments, or other payloads to the lunar surface. To address these objectives as cost-effectively as possible, NASA may procure payloads and related commercial payload delivery services to the Moon,” the request adds.

Currently, the only known FAA-licensed commercial mission to the lunar surface will be conducted by Moon Express. The company plans to launch a lander and hopper to the moon this year in an attempt to win the $20 million first prize in the Google Lunar X Prize.

Synergy Moon, an international team with U.S. members, has a contract to launch its mission to the moon later this year on an Interorbital Systems rocket off the California coast.

Astrobotic, which recently dropped out of the competition, has said it still plans to launch a rover to the moon. However, it will not do so by the end of 2017, which is a requirement to compete in the prize.

SpaceX has announced plans to send two people around the moon in a modified Dragon spacecraft. The company has said nothing about landing anything on the surface, but it’s possible the mission’s booster, Falcon Heavy, could include secondary payloads.

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