GLXP Updates: Aldrin & Pickens Leave Moon Express, Lunar Lion Withdraws


By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Two high profile executives — President Andrew Aldrin and Propulsion Vice Pesident Tim Pickens — have left Bob Richard’s Moon Express, the commercial exploration company that has been one of the favorites to win the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize for landing and operating a rover on the surface.

Meanwhile, the only student-led team in the race, Penn State Lunar Lion, has withdrawn from the prize after an independent review found it could not achieve that goal within the competition’s tight deadline of Dec. 31, 2017.


Moon Express Continues Lander Flight Tests at NASA Kennedy

Moon Express' MTV-1X test vehicle performed a tethered flight test at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: Moon Express Inc.)
Moon Express’ MTV-1X test vehicle performed a tethered flight test at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: Moon Express Inc.)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., Feb. 6, 2015 (MoonEx PR) — Moon Express, Inc. (MoonEx) has announced that it will continue flight tests at Kennedy Space Center using the newest version of its lunar lander test vehicle later this month.


Moon Express to Lease Launch Complex at Cape Canaveral

Space Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral in Florida launched the first U.S. government exploration missions to the Moon, and will now be the home of Moon Express lunar lander development and test operations. (Credit: Moon Express, Inc.)
Space Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral in Florida (Credit: Moon Express, Inc.)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (MoonEx PR) — Moon Express, Inc. (MoonEx) announced with Space Florida today that it has signed an agreement to begin using the historic Space Launch Complex 36 (SLC-36) at Cape Canaveral for its lunar lander development and flight test operations.


Moon Express Tests Lunar Lander at Kennedy Space Center

MTV-1X vehicle in full tether mode. (Credit: Moon Express)
MTV-1X vehicle in full tether mode. (Credit: Moon Express)

By Linda Herridge
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

NASA is working with U.S. industry to develop the capabilities and cutting-edge technologies that will help send astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit. To achieve this goal, space travelers will need the resources to survive during long-duration missions to an asteroid, Mars and other outer planets.

Moon Express Inc., of Moffett Field, California, is one of three companies selected for the agency’s new Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (CATALYST) initiative to advance lander capabilities that will enable delivery of payloads to the surface of the moon.


CSF Adds Six New Members

csf_logo_newestWashington D.C. (CSF PR) – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is pleased to announce the addition of six new member organizations. Bigelow Aerospace and Orbital Outfitters have joined as new Executive Members and Moon Express has moved up from Associate to Executive Membership. ASRC Federal, Spaceport Sweden, and World View Enterprises have joined as Associate Members.

“The CSF membership is representative of all facets of space exploration,” said CSF President Michael Lopez-Alegria. “This diversity is indicative of a growing, thriving sector, with each company contributing to the overarching success of the commercial space exploration industry.”


Moon Express Unveils “MX-1” Commercial Lunar Lander

Credit: Moon Express
Credit: Moon Express

LAS VEGAS, NV, December 5, 2013 (Moon Express PR) – Moon Express, Inc., a privately funded lunar resources company, unveiled its “MX-1” lunar lander spacecraft today as a breakthrough robotic space vehicle capable of a multitude of applications including delivering scientific and commercial payloads to the Moon at a fraction of the cost of conventional approaches. The spacecraft design is being unveiled today at the closing session of Autodesk University in Las Vegas in front of an audience of over 10,000 attendees.


Moon Express Adds Spudis as Chief Scientist, Burns as Advisory Chair

Paul Spudis
Paul Spudis

Houston, TX, September 5th, 2013 (ME PR) – Moon Express, Inc., a lunar resources company, announced today that leading planetary scientists Dr. Paul Spudis and Dr. Jack Burns have joined the company to assist its plans to explore the Moon for precious resources.

Dr. Spudis, an outspoken advocate of using lunar resources to develop the Moon and cislunar space, has joined Moon Express as its Chief Scientist, a part-time role established in collaboration with the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, where he is a Senior Staff Scientist.


Moon Express Opens Propulsion Development Facility in Huntsville

Tim Pickens

Mountain View, CA, July 16, 2013 (ME PR) — Moon Express, Inc., a lunar resource company, today announced the opening of a Propulsion Development Facility in Huntsville, Alabama that will be key to landing the world’s first commercial spacecraft on the Moon.

The announcement was made by rocket pioneer Tim Pickens, who joined Moon Express as the company’s Chief Propulsion Engineer earlier this year. Pickens made the announcement at the 2013 AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference in San Jose, California, revealing that the company has already successfully met several milestones in its propulsion development plans, including:

  • Successfully test firing a “green” 400 pound demo rocket engine, demonstrating the new test facility checkout, as well as testing engine performance, deep throttling, and efficiency
  • Developing new mono-prop and bi-prop propulsion systems for the Moon Express lander that range in thrust classes from 0.1-1000 pound thrust
  • Investments into new local capabilities including design, fabrication, and remote hot fire test capabilities for “Green” propulsion systems


Uwingu Announces Board of Advisors

uwingu_artworkUwingu PR (Mar. 5, 2013) — Space start up Uwingu™ announced today that has recruited a distinguished board of 15 advisers to assist the company in strategic and operational planning.


GLXP News: Moon Express Acquires Rocket City Space Pioneers in Teaming Agreement with Dynetics

moon_is_me_logoHuntsville, AL, Dec 20, 2012 (ME PR) – Moon Express, Inc., a provider of commercial and scientific missions to the Moon, announced today it has reached a Teaming Agreement with Dynetics for the acquisition of the Rocket City Space Pioneers (RCSP) Google Lunar X PRIZE Team. The agreement brings the substantial space capabilities of Dynetics to the Moon Express team for the pursuit of commercial lunar missions, and will leverage and carry forward the substantial work done by RCSP supported by its visionary partners: Dynetics, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Andrews Aerospace, Draper Laboratory, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Moog, Huntsville Center for Technology, and Analytical Mechanics Associates.


GLXP Update: Moon Express Hires Veteran Team

Silicon Valley, CA (Moon Express PR) – Moon Express, Inc., a provider of commercial and scientific missions to the Moon, has unveiled its senior technical team of veteran space industry engineers hired to lead the company’s flight programs. The Moon Express technical leadership team is described as a who’s who of space industry veterans with over 50 NASA space missions to their credit, bringing to the company a deep understanding of NASA know-how and a passion to develop a new era of commercial space exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The announcement was made to commercial space industry leaders during a Commercial Spaceflight Federation meeting in Washington, DC.


GLXP Update: Moon Express Gobbles Up Next Giant Leap

Washington, DC – May 30, 2012 (ME PR) – Moon Express, Inc., a provider of commercial and scientific missions to the Moon, announced today that it has acquired Next Giant Leap, LLC of Colorado (NGL).

The NGL acquisition by Moon Express will leverage and carry forward the substantial work done by NGL supported by its corporate partners, Sierra Nevada Corp., The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, MIT Space Systems Laboratory, Aurora Flight Services, Jolted Media Group, The Center for Space Entrepreneurship (eSpace) and the Challenger Center for Space Science Education. The announcement was made at the Google Lunar X PRIZE Team Summit taking place this week in Washington, DC.