Tag: moon

GLXP Update: SpaceIL Receives $16.4 Million Donation

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SpaceIL_Lander_GLXPTEL AVIV (SpaceIL PR) — SpaceIL, a nonprofit organization aiming to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the Moon and a participant in the prestigious Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP) competition, announced today the receipt of a $16.4 million donation from the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Family Foundation.

This grant – coupled with tremendous grassroots support and funding from other key donors such as Morris Kahn and the Schusterman Family Foundation together with ongoing support from the Israel Aerospace Industries, the Israel Space Agency, Bezeq, Tel Aviv University, the Weizmann Institute and many others – gives the SpaceIL team a significant boost ahead in completing construction of their highly innovative spacecraft and moves them closer to the actual launch to the Moon. The funds also support SpaceIL’s core mission to create an Israeli “Apollo Effect,” inspiring the next generation to think differently about science, technology, engineering and math.

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Science, Discovery Channels to Chronicle Google Lunar X Prize

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GoogleLunarXPRIZE_LogoNEW YORK (Discovery Communications PR) — Science Channel and Discovery Channel today announced that the networks will serve as television homes for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a $30 million competition for privately-funded teams to land an unmanned craft on the moon by December 31, 2015.

The networks will chronicle the historic race with a miniseries event, following teams from around the world as they race to complete the mission requirements of the Grand Prize; to land a craft on the surface of the moon, travel 500 meters, and transmit live pictures and video back to earth. Science Channel and Discovery Channel will follow the entire process including testing, lift-off, and live coverage of the winning lunar landing, which is estimated to take place in 2015. The announcement was made at Discovery Communications’ annual Upfront presentation in New York.

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Astrobotic Develops Mobility Testbed for Lunar Rover

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PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic’s rover development group at Carnegie Mellon University is developing the Mobility Testbed – a rover to facilitate testing representative of the rover that will fly on Astrobotic’s mission to the Moon’s Lacus Mortis region.

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Interorbital Completes Successful Test Flight

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Interorbital launch at FAR. (Credit: Interorbital Systems)

Interorbital launch at FAR. (Credit: Interorbital Systems)

MOJAVE, Calif. (Interorbital PR) — At 12:15 on March 29, 2014, Interorbital Systems’ Common Propulsion Module Test Vehicle (CPM TV) thundered off its mobile launch unit on its maiden flight. The rocket’s 7,500-lb thrust engine performed flawlessly propelling the 1200-lb rocket to Mach 1+ within seconds over the FAR Launch Area. The 30-foot long CPM TV rocket is a boiler-plate test version of the identical rocket units that will make up Interorbital’s modular orbital launch systems.

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Astrobotic Successfully Tests Lunar Landing System

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PITTSBURGH, PA, March 31, 2014 (Astrobotic PR):  Astrobotic Technology announced today that its autonomous landing technology, the Astrobotic Autolanding System (AAS), performed successfully throughout an open-loop flight campaign on the Masten Aerospace Xombie, a vertical-takeoff vertical-landing suborbital rocket. Testing was conducted at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, CA in February 2014. The test was made possible through funding by the NASA Flight Opportunities Program, which is managed by NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center.

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Andrew Aldrin Leaves ULA for Moon Express

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Andrew Aldrin

Andrew Aldrin

Houston, TX, March 18th, 2014 (MoonEx PR) – Moon Express, Inc. (MoonEx) has named Dr. Andrew Aldrin as President, bringing his 20+ years of business leadership and policy experience in high-profile, aerospace companies to MoonEx as it undergoes accelerating growth on the back of rapid technological progress and business expansion. The announcement was made at the 45th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.

Dr. Aldrin’s appointment happens as the company enters a watershed year of staff build-up and the construction and test its MX-1 lunar lander system in preparation for a maiden flight to the Moon in late 2015. The company has been successful at attracting high profile investors, raising over $15 million in equity financing since its founding in 2010, and continues on a solid financial path to meeting its corporate objective to become the first private company to reach the Moon. The company has grown to more than 40 employees between its NASA Ames Research Park headquarters in Silicon Valley and its propulsion development and test facilities in Huntsville, Alabama, making it the largest dedicated engineering staff in the U.S. focused solely on returning American spacecraft to the surface of the Moon for science, exploration and commerce.

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GLXP Update: SpaceMETA Raises $10 Million From Investment Fund

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Silvio Miglio Sergio and Cabral Cavalcanti. (Credit: SpaceMETA)

Silvio Miglio Sergio and Cabral Cavalcanti. (Credit: SpaceMETA)

RIO DE JANEIRO and SAO PAULO, Brazil (SpaceMETA PR )– Billionaire Silvio Miglio Fund (SILVIO MANOEL LAPA MIGLIO) announce today the investment in first private Brazilian aerospace startup SpaceMETA ( www.spacemeta.com). – We are Here to do the Impossible Things …

Silvio Miglio is a Brazilian entrepreneur with skill in participating in Big Challenges and structural projects in several sectors. As a business man, Mr. Silvio Manoel Lapa Miglio has succeed in several sectors and actually he is the bigger ethanol producer in the Sergipe state in NE of Brasil.

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Honeybee Robotics Selected for SBIR Phase II Awards

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Hartley 2, Close Up  This image from the High-Resolution Instrument on NASA's EPOXI mission spacecraft shows part of the nucleus of comet Hartley 2. The sun is illuminating the nucleus from the right. A distinct cloud of individual particles is visible. This image was obtained on Nov. 4, 2010, the day the EPOXI mission spacecraft made its closest approach to the comet. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

Hartley 2, Close Up This image from the High-Resolution Instrument on NASA’s EPOXI mission spacecraft shows part of the nucleus of comet Hartley 2. The sun is illuminating the nucleus from the right. A distinct cloud of individual particles is visible. This image was obtained on Nov. 4, 2010, the day the EPOXI mission spacecraft made its closest approach to the comet. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

NASA has selected Honeybee Robotics of New York City for two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards for work on a comet surface sample return mission and the development of a nano-drill that could be used on that mission.

“The proposed Phase II investigation will focus on the development of spacecraft systems required to obtain a sample from the nucleus of a comet, hermetically seal the sample within a capsule, and return the sealed sample to an orbiting spacecraft which can return the sample to Earth,” according to the proposal summary.

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Astrobotic Selected for NASA SBIR Phase II Award

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Resource Prospector Mission field test in Hawaii. (Credit: NASA)

Resource Prospector Mission field test in Hawaii. (Credit: NASA)

NASA has selected Astrobotic Technology of Pittsburgh for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II award to facilitate the better planning and execution of resource extraction missions on the moon, Mars and other worlds.

“The proposed work develops a computer-aided mission planning tool that balances the competing demands of efficient routes, scientific information gain, and rover constraints (e.g., kinematics, communication, power, thermal, and terrainability) to generate and analyze optimized routes between sequences of locations,” according to the project’s technical abstract.

The company says that the planning tool would be directly applicable to the planned Lunar Resource Prospector Mission, which is a joint NASA-CSA effort to extra volatiles on the moon. The mission is targeted for launch later in this decade.

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Masten Accomplishes Successful Free Flight in Mojave

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A Xombie technology demonstrator from Masten Space Systems, Mojave, Calif., ascends from its pad at Mojave Air and Space Port on a test for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The vehicle is a vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing experimental rocket. It is being used in collaboration with NASA Dryden Flight Research Center to evaluate performance of JPL's Fuel Optimal Large Divert Guidance (G-FOLD), a new algorithm for planetary pinpoint landing of spacecraft. Image (Credit: NASA/Masten)

A Xombie technology demonstrator from Masten Space Systems, Mojave, Calif., ascends from its pad at Mojave Air and Space Port on a test for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The vehicle is a vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing experimental rocket. It is being used in collaboration with NASA Dryden Flight Research Center to evaluate performance of JPL’s Fuel Optimal Large Divert Guidance (G-FOLD), a new algorithm for planetary pinpoint landing of spacecraft. Image (Credit: NASA/Masten)

Greetings from the Antelope Valley Board of Trade’s Business Outlook Conference!

During lunch, Mojave Air and Space Port Stu Witt announced that Masten Space Systems successfully flew a vehicle this morning. He said the vehicle went to an altitude of 300 meters, translated over and touched down safely on another landing pad.

Witt did not say which vehicle it was, but I’m guessing it was a Xombie. Masten has been working this week with Astrobotic Technology to for test the company’s landing sensor package and software system for its Griffin lander, which it plans to send to the moon in October 2015.

Astrobotic is a competitor in the Google Lunar X Prize, which has prizes for the first private company to land a rover on the moon.