omg:<br /><br />Google finances the lunar Robot X-prize! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>“An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.” John F. Kennedy</em></p> </div>
Congress holding UFO hearing Tuesday morning at 9 AM EDT: Watch it live here!
...The Google Lunar X PRIZE is a $30 million international competition to safely land a robot on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send images and data back to the Earth. Teams must be at least 90% privately funded and must be registered to compete by December 31, 2010. The first team to land on the Moon and complete the mission objectives will be awarded $20 million; the full first prize is available until December 31, 2012. After that date, the first prize will drop to $15 million. The second team to do so will be awarded $5 million. Another $5 million will awarded in bonus prizes. The final deadline for winning the prize is December 31, 2014.
...The Google Lunar X PRIZE, abbreviated GLXP, sometimes referred to as Moon 2.0, is a space competition organized by the X Prize Foundation, and sponsored by Google. It was announced at the Wired Nextfest on 13 September 2007. The challenge calls for privately-funded spaceflight teams to compete in successfully launching, landing, and then traveling across the surface of the Moon with a robot, while also sending back to Earth specified images and other data.
Oct. 15, 2010
WASHINGTON -- NASA has awarded Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data (ILDD) contracts to six companies for the purchase of technical data resulting from industry efforts to develop vehicle capabilities and demonstrate end-to-end robotic lunar landing missions. The data from these contracts will inform the development of future human and robotic lander vehicles and exploration systems.
The ILDD Broad Agency Announcement resulted in multiple award firm-fixed price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts with a total value of up to $30.1 million over a period of up to five years. For each selected contractor, the minimum government purchase is $10,000, and the maximum government purchase is $10.01 million.
The contracts were awarded to:
Astrobotic Technology Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa.
The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., Cambridge, Mass.
Dynetics Inc., Huntsville, Ala.
Earthrise Space Inc., Orlando, Fla.
Moon Express Inc., San Francisco
Team FREDNET, The Open Space Society, Inc., Huntsville, Ala.
The ILDD contracts provide for issuance of delivery orders that will specify data associated with system testing and integration, launch, in-space maneuvers, braking burns, lunar landing and other enhanced capabilities. Knowledge acquired from this data will be applied to the development of lander systems necessary to execute human and robotic missions to the moon, near-Earth asteroids or other solar system destinations. They will contribute to NASA's efforts to enable affordable and sustainable space exploration.
Awarded contracts will be managed by the Lunar Lander Project Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
...Fri, 10/15/2010 - 20:29 — Astrobotic
PITTSBURGH, PA – October 15, 2010 –Astrobotic Technology today was awarded a NASA contract worth up to $10 million for a robotic expedition to the Moon in April 2013.
Astrobotic revealed that the alliance for this pursuit includes Carnegie Mellon University, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Aerojet, Scaled Composites, International Rectifier, Harmonic Drive LLC and Caterpillar Inc.
The expedition has 220 pounds of payload capacity available for customers at universities, space agencies, and corporate sponsors. The mission also will pursue $24 million through Google’s Lunar X PRIZE and Florida’s $2 million launch prize.
The mission will explore the lunar surface near an Apollo site with a “social” robot able to Tweet and update its Facebook account as it chats with fans on Earth. The robot’s high-definition cameras will show the Moon in 3D as it is directed by amateur drivers over the Web and at science centers.
NASA awarded its contract under the Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data (ILDD) program. It will pay Astrobotic for data about how to land at a precise location, which hasn’t been done by previous Mars and Moon robots, as well as how to avoid last-minute obstacles like boulders and small craters unseen from orbit. The NASA contract also pays for information about how the Astrobotic robot survives the lunar night – two weeks of deep freeze as cold as liquid nitrogen.
Each accomplishment is worth $500,000 to $2.5 million. Astrobotic can collect up to $1.1 million with data delivered prior to launch, and the remainder after its spacecraft lands.
Astrobotic plans to send its spacecraft to a lunar trajectory via a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX, a “new space” company that won a $1.6 billion NASA assignment to bring cargo to the International Space Station.
Carnegie Mellon University backs the project with the experience of its Robotics Institute, where several prototype lunar robots have been developed and field tested. The University’s expertise includes winning the DARPA Urban Challenge with a Chevy Tahoe that autonomously drove through city traffic, planning its own path, avoiding obstacles and obeying the California traffic code. This sensing and software technology is being applied to a precision landing on the Moon.
“This private-sector Moon expedition combines small and large companies, and taps into the intellectual capital of the world’s leading computer science and robotics university,” said Dr. William “Red” Whittaker, founder of Astrobotic Technology and the Field Robotics Center at Carnegie Mellon. “Together we’ll create a lunar exploration mission at a breakthrough cost that enables public participation from around the world.”
“International Rectifier is pleased to provide engineering expertise and the hardware associated with power conversion and motor drive within the lunar rover. IR has extensive experience in radiation hardened, high reliability power electronics for space missions and looks forward with enthusiasm to participation in this exciting endeavor,” said Fred Farris, Vice President, HiRel Sales and Marketing for IR.
"Aerojet is excited to be a part of the Astrobotic team," said Carl Stechman, Aerojet lead propulsion engineer. "As someone who worked on the original Apollo propulsion for the lunar lander, I look forward to returning to the moon."
Astrobotic team member Scaled Composites LLC, which won the first X Prize competition with piloted flights to the edge of space, showed how prizes can spawn new industries: Sir Richard Branson turned its vehicle into the basis for his Virgin Galactic spaceline.
“Harmonic Drive LLC is thrilled to once again work with Red Whittaker and the talented team from CMU and the other Astrobotic alliance partners,” said Doug Olson, CEO of Harmonic Drive. “We have a long history with space flight applications and has manufactured thousands of Harmonic Drive™ gears for satellites, landers, and rovers. Harmonic Drive built the wheel drive gearing system used in the Apollo Lunar Rover Vehicles for the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions. We are excited for the opportunity to return to the moon again and take a drive with our alliance partners.”
“As a global company, Caterpillar has been supplying its cutting edge technology to customers around the world for years, and now to be part of a collaboration that is heading into space is simply amazing,” said Eric Reiners, manager of Automation Systems in Caterpillar’s Product Development & Global Technology Division. “The alliance will develop technologies that will ultimately benefit Cat customers as they face the demands of moving to more remote and harsh locations to provide the resources the world demands.”
A unique aspect of the expedition is the inclusion of interdisciplinary arts projects created by students and faculty based in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts.
“The many extraordinary artistic projects seek to embody the Earth to the Moon and in turn embody the Moon to the Earth in multidisciplinary interactions involving global audiences,” said Lowry Burgess, a professor who is coordinating this historic Moon Arts project.
About Astrobotic Technology:
A spin-out from Carnegie Mellon University, Astrobotic delivers payloads and collects data for space agencies, aerospace corporations and academic researchers. The first expedition in April 2013 will carry scientific instruments, engineering experiments and sample components that space agencies and companies want to test in the lunar environment. For corporate sponsors, it will deliver promotions that involve customers directly in the adventure of lunar exploration. Subsequent expeditions will prospect at the Moon’s poles for water and methane that can be transformed into propellant to refuel spacecraft for their return to Earth. Other expeditions will explore recently found “skylights” that pierce the lunar soil down to volcanic caves that offer shelter from the Moon’s temperature extremes, radiation and micrometeorites. Astrobotic also plans a robot able to outrun lunar sundown, always keeping its solar panels illuminated and avoiding the immobilizing cold of the long night. More information is available at: www.astrobotic.net.
GoogleLunarXPRIZE | October 21, 2010
Representatives of the Google Lunar X PRIZE teams, the X PRIZE Foundation, Google, and the Isle of Man met on October 4-5, 2010 for the 4th annual Google Lunar X PRIZE Team Summit located in Douglas, Isle of Man (United Kingdom). Teams presented technical updates, participated in educational events, and discussed the competition.
...By William Pomerantz
Posted Monday, October 25, 2010
The past few weeks have been a flurry of activity for the Google Lunar X PRIZE. After helping our colleagues celebrate the awarding of the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, we hit the road to attend the 61st International Astronautical Congress in Prague, and then to host the 4th annual Google Lunar X PRIZE Team Summit on the Isle of Man. With all of the recent activity, and with the competition just having celebrated its third "birthday," now seems like a good time for an update.
...Last modified on Tuesday, 26 October 2010 15:22
Written by Daven Maharaj
San Francisco, CA (October 26, 2010) – Today, Moon Express Inc, a privately funded lunar transportation and data services company, announced its official entry into the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a $30 million competition that challenges space professionals and engineers from across the globe to build and launch to the Moon a privately funded spacecraft capable of completing a series of exploration and transmission tasks. Team MoonEx, headquartered in San Francisco, CA, is among 24 teams from a dozen countries that are competing for their share of the $30 million prize purse.
Moon Express is also among six U.S. companies award a contract by NASA, the US civil space agency, as part of its $30M Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data (ILDD) program. The ILDD contract is for the purchase of technical data resulting from industry efforts to develop vehicle capabilities and demonstrate end-to-end robotic lunar landing missions. The data from these contracts will inform NASA in the development of future human and robotic lander vehicles and exploration systems.
"The Google Lunar X PRIZE and NASA's Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data program are very exciting competitions that represent the knee in the curve of opportunity for the commercial lunar industry," said Moon Express Team Leader, Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards.
“We are very excited to have Moon Express as one of our Google Lunar X PRIZE teams,” remarked William Pomerantz, Senior Director for Space Prizes at the X PRIZE Foundation. “With NASA already signed on as a customer, Moon Express enters the competition on great footing, and promises to be an extremely strong competitor.”
Fri, 11/05/2010 - 13:42 — Tom Baumbach
Last week, Dynetics announced the start of our new $50M prototyping facility here in Huntsville, Ala. At 225,000 square feet, it will provide a place to assemble, integrate and test our entry into the GLXP competition. We’ve set aside lab space for assembling satellites of many sorts, complete with an overhead crane and a large clean room for integration. We have a separate lab for vacuum/thermal tests. The facility will also expand our current capability to fabricate micro-electronics such as those we do for our modular telemetry system.
Also last week, we had a Rocket City Space Pioneers Team meeting to map out our strategy for everything from educational outreach and sponsorship activities to the schedule for our SCR with NASA coming up soon. Team Leader Tim Pickens led the meeting.
The day after the meeting we had a successful high pressure firing of the warm gas lunar lander we’ve fabricated. It is headed toward a full system test under the direction of teammate Teledyne Brown Engineering in a NASA test facility by February 2011. We’ll post some video of the most recent test very soon.
GoogleLunarXPRIZE | November 12, 2010
Potential Google Lunar X PRIZE teams must register for the competition by the end of the day on Dec. 31, 2010. Will Pomerantz, Senior Director of Space Prizes at the X PRIZE Foundation, briefly answers some frequently asked questions about registration for the competition.
Please visit http://www.googlelunarxprize.org for more information and to download registration materials.