Tag: moon

Moon Express Completes Initial Flight Tests at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

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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. (NASA PR) – During November and December 2014, Moon Express successfully conducted its lander test vehicle hot fires and initial flight tests at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, with the support of NASA’s Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (CATALYST) initiative.

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Google Increases Financial Commitment to Google Lunar X Prize

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Google has increased the maximum amount it will give out in the Google Lunar X Prize from $30 million to $40 million, the XPrize announced.

The increase was made to accommodate a series of milestone prizes the competition awarded this week to five of the 18 teams in the competition. A total of $5.25 million was awarded to Astrobotic, Hakuto, Moon Express, Part-time Scientists and Team Indus. The amounts ranged from $500,000 to $1.75 million.

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XPRIZE Awards $5.25 Million in Milestone Prizes to 5 Teams

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SAN FRANCISCO (XPRIZE PR)  XPRIZE, the global leader in incentivized prize competition, today announced that five Google Lunar XPRIZE teams have been awarded a combined US$5.25 million in recognition of key technological advancements toward their quest to land a private spacecraft on the surface of the moon. Determined by a judging panel of science, aeronautics and space industry experts that evaluated numerous tests over the past year, the Milestone Prizes honor hardware and software innovations needed to overcome technical risks in the three crucial areas—Imaging, Mobility and Landing systems—all of which are necessary to complete a successful Google Lunar XPRIZE mission.

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Everybody Wins in Google Lunar X Prize Milestone Competition

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UPDATE: The total amount awarded is $5.25 million out of $6 million. The winners are:

  • Astrobotic: $1.75 million (Landing, Mobility, Imaging)
  • Moon Express: $1.25 million (Landing, Imaging)
  • Team Indus: $1 million (Landing)
  • Part Time Scientists: $750,000 (Mobility, Imaging)
  • Hakuto: $500,000 (Mobility)

Moon Express did not win any funds for mobility. Team Indus did not receive any funding for imagining.

The milestone funds will be deducted from the $20 million first prize and the $5 million second prize should any of the teams win them.

The winners of the $6 million Google Lunar X Prize milestone award competition won’t be announced until sometime on Monday, but it appears that everyone is a winner.

The competition has been inviting people to an exclusive live chat on Monday with the five winning teams. Of the 18 remaining teams in the competition, the number competing for the milestones was….five. So, everyone must have won something.

The prizes will be awarded during a glitzy, invitation-only affair in San Francisco on Monday night. Team members are flying in from all over the world to receive the prizes.

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Hawaiian Students to Work With NASA on Lunar Surface Experiment

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Electrodynamic dust shield (Credit: PISCES)

Electrodynamic dust shield (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, Hawaii (PISCES PR) — The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) has signed a non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), formally establishing a partnership to jointly work on a Hawaii high school STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) project that will give students the opportunity to develop a space experiment and send it to the surface of the Moon.

The experiment involves electrodynamic dust shield (EDS) technology. Under the Space Act Agreement, KSC will mentor the selected Hawaii students. This includes consulting them on the physics of the EDS; the design, development, and construction of mounting and integration hardware; and testing and analysis of a flight experiment configuration.

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Moon Express to Lease Launch Complex at Cape Canaveral

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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.

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Moon Express to Locate Test Operations in Florida

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An artist illustration of the Moon Express MX-1 lunar lander on its mission to the moon. (Credit: Moon Express)

An artist illustration of the Moon Express MX-1 lunar lander on its mission to the moon. (Credit: Moon Express)

Florida Today reports on Moon Express relocating part of its operations to Florida:

Silicon Valley-based Moon Express tomorrow will announce plans to sign a five-year lease with Space Florida to base its propulsion and test flight operations at Launch Complex 36, the site of former Atlas pads that launched NASA spacecraft to the moon and Mars.

The announcement comes several months after the privately-funded company began testing a small, doughnut-shaped spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center’s shuttle runway, a precursor to the vehicle it hopes will capture the Google Lunar XPRIZE….

An initial group of 25 to 50 employees will include some relocating from the company’s headquarters at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, and an office in Huntsville, Alabama. Among them is Tim Pickens, lead designer of the engine for SpaceShipOne, the first privately developed craft to put people in space in 2004.

They will also include local hires, potentially building up to a team of 100 or 200 employees here, ranging from machine shop workers to spacecraft engineers….

The state agency recently approved spending $250,000 to match Moon Express’ first investment in facility upgrades at Launch Complex 36, one of two state-run pads on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, that Richards said over time could top $10 million.

GLXP Update: Moon Express Flight Test Video

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Video Caption: Moon Express conducted the first flight tests of its MTV-1X lander test vehicle at the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) in November and December of 2014. The testing was conducted in partnership with NASA through the Lunar CATALYST program, and in pursuit of the Lander and Mobility Terrestrial Milestones Prizes of the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE.

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GLXP Update: Team HAKUTO Completes Milestone Prize Tests

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Moonraker moving on simulated lunar surface (Credit: HAKUTO)

Moonraker moving on simulated lunar surface (Credit: HAKUTO)

TOKYO (HAKUTO PR) — Happy New Year! HAKUTO finishes tests for the milestone prize, and awaits the announcement of the results.

HAKUTO, the Japanese team selected to compete for the Milestone Prizes, has submitted the final documents reporting the results of their development and verification activities for the milestone prize at the end of 2014. The documents include several tests to prove that our pre-flight model rovers are flight-ready, and now we’ll give you a sneak peek of some of the tests! Continue reading ‘GLXP Update: Team HAKUTO Completes Milestone Prize Tests’

Worldwide Launches Hit 20-Year High in 2014

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Orion Exploration Flight Test launch. (Credit: NASA)

Orion Exploration Flight Test launch. (Credit: NASA)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It was a banner year for launches worldwide in 2014, with the total reaching a 20-year high as Russia and India debuted new launch vehicles, NASA tested its Orion crew spacecraft, China sent a capsule around the moon, and Japan launched a spacecraft to land on an asteroid.

There were a total of 92 orbital launches, the highest number since the 93 launches conducted in 1994. In addition, Russia and India conducted successful suborbital tests of new boosters.

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