MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Feb. 14, 2013 (ME PR) — Moon Express, Inc., a provider of commercial and scientific missions to the Moon, announced today that award-winning rocket pioneer Tim Pickens has been hired by the company as Chief Propulsion Engineer, responsible for overall propulsion architectures used in Earth departure stages, lunar breaking stages and lander propulsion systems.
Among Pickens’ responsibilities at Moon Express will be to lead its Huntsville office, located near the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Pickens will split his time between the Moon Express Huntsville office and its corporate headquarters at the NASA Ames Research Park in Silicon Valley.
The 33 teams that were once competing for the Google Lunar X Prize have now been reduced to 23 competitors. Some have dropped out, while others have merged with or been acquired by other teams. Most recently, Moon Express acquired the Rocket City Space Pioneers.
With the deadline for winning the prize set for the end of 2015, additional drop outs and consolidations are likely. Given the lead time for securing rockets, any team that hasn’t arranged for a ride to the moon by now has little chance of winning the race.
And which of these teams have realistic changes of winning? My guess would be _______ and _______, but if I revealed their actual names, I would (a) annoy the other 21 remaining teams and, (b) probably miss some dark horse candidate that will likely sweep in and claim the prize out of nowhere. So, I will exercise a rare amount of diplomacy here and name no names.
Just remember, you read it here first. The rest of those guys have no chance.
Huntsville, 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.
Dynetics PR — Huntsville, Ala. (Jan. 31, 2012) – Today, on the 54th anniversary of the launching of the Explorer 1 satellite, the Rocket City Space Pioneers (RCSP) invited Alabama public school fourth graders to participate in their mission to the Moon. RCSP, the Alabama Tourism Department and the Alabama Department of Education unveiled the details of a contest that will allow fourth graders to name RCSP’s Moon-bound lander. The winning class will get a free trip to Space Camp®, and the teacher will receive a $500 gift card for classroom supplies.
The announcement was made at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center®’s Davidson Center, and the event featured a rocket engine firing and a display of hardware from Rocket City Space Pioneers team members.
RCSP PR – PR Huntsville, Ala. (Dec. 1, 2011) –The Rocket City Space Pioneers (RCSP), the Huntsville-centric team competing in the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE competition, invite you to launch a rocket from Rocket City to the moon, land on the moon and explore the moon to meet your mission objectives. RCSP’s new iPad game is now available at the App Store. The game can be downloaded at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rocket-city-space-pioneers/id481158783?mt=8.
RCSP PR — Las Cruces, NM – Anyone who has an iPad can participate in a mission to the moon via a free interactive game produced by Analytical Mechanics Associates (AMA) for the Rocket City Space Pioneers (RCSP). RCSP announced here today at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight that AMA has joined their team. The company has developed an interactive game called “RCSP Moon Race” that will allow gamers to launch a spacecraft from Rocket City and put a lander and rover on the moon. The gamer will encounter many mission challenges along the way. A demonstration of the game is available at the Dynetics/Rocket City Space Pioneers conference booth this week.
The objective of “RCSP Moon Race” is the same as the objective of RCSP’s Google Lunar X PRIZE mission: to safely land RCSP’s lander on the moon, drop off the rover and have it maneuver 500 meters over the lunar surface.
Huntsville, Ala. (Sept. 2, 2011) – The Dynetics-led Rocket City Space Pioneers (RCSP) Google Lunar X PRIZE team has successfully completed a critical NASA contract milestone by delivering rocket engine hot-fire test data on Dynetics’ newly developed “green” rocket engine. NASA, through its Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data (ILDD) contract, selected Dynetics in October to supply flight component data to enable the development of future human and robotic lander vehicles and exploration systems.
The RCSP team conducted testing on a new, non-toxic “green” hydrogen peroxide-kerosene bi-propellant rocket thruster developed by Dynetics to meet the performance needs of the team’s robotic lander propulsion subsystem. The new rocket thruster was successfully tested in flight relevant environments, providing volumes of data for NASA on the design and performance of this technology. Teammates at Draper Laboratories developed initial guidance, navigation, and control (GN&C) precision landing algorithms to provide testing profiles, and Teledyne Brown Engineering provided thermal analysis inputs used to optimize the design.
Dynetics PR – Huntsville, Ala. (May 19, 2011) – Dynetics and Moog will announce today at the International Space Development Conference that Moog has joined the Rocket City Space Pioneers as the newest team member.
Moog brings its heritage and proven flight hardware experience including the ESPA (Evolved Expendable Launch Secondary Payload Adapter). The ESPA was developed under a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/VS) with support from the Department of Defense (DoD) Space Test Program at Kirtland Air Force Base. Unused launch capacity, a growing interest in missions utilizing small satellites and a desire for affordable launch opportunities led to the development. Moog has been an industry partner for control solutions for almost 60 years, providing propulsion, actuation and electronic solutions for military, civil and commercial spaceflight.
Team Leader Tim Pickens and Jason Andrews talk about their cool rideshare program during a break at the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. Falcon 9 is the planned launch vehicle, and the program offers savings of over 50% over traditional dedicated missions.
DYNETICS PR — Dynetics and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) announced today at the National Space Symposium that PWR has joined the Rocket City Space Pioneers as the newest team member. The Rocket City Space Pioneers team is a group of businesses led by Dynetics, competing in the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE.
Tim Pickens, team leader of the Rocket City Space Pioneers, said: â€œPratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will be a key player on our team. We are very fortunate to have such a reputable space company with a proven history of success join us on our mission.â€
RCSP PR â€“ Colorado Springs, Colo. (April 12, 2011) â€“ The Rocket City Space Pioneers (RCSP), a team of Alabama-based industry leaders and educational partners, are selling payload rides to Earth orbit, as well as to the Moon, at approximately half the cost of a dedicated launch.
â€œThe Rocket City Space Pioneers, through our partner Spaceflight Services, are providing low-cost access to space for fixed and deployable cargo and spacecraft,â€ said Tim Pickens, team leader. â€œThrough standard flight interfaces and a streamlined integration process, we can take your payload to the Moon at half the cost of traditional services!â€
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 NASAâ€™s $30 million Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data project, managed by the Johnson Space Center near Houston, TX.
A Huntsville, Ala. team featuring leaders in the spaceflight and educational fields is currently developing a low-cost lunar lander/rover system to send to the moon by 2014, which will be able to travel 500 meters and transmit video images and data back to the Earth. Led by Dynetics, the team comprising Teledyne Brown Engineering, Andrews Space, Spaceflight Services, Draper Laboratory, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and the Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation (VCSI) plans to be the first privately funded team to get to the moon.