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  Moon Express "MX-1" commercial lunar lander

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Author Topic:   Moon Express "MX-1" commercial lunar lander
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 31441
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-05-2013 08:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Moon Express release
Moon Express Unveils Breakthrough "MX-1" Commercial Lunar Lander

Moon Express, Inc., a privately funded lunar resources company, unveiled its "MX-1" lunar lander spacecraft today (Dec. 5) 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 was unveiled today at the closing session of Autodesk University in Las Vegas in front of an audience of over 10,000 attendees.

The MX-1 synthesizes proprietary robotic technologies, advanced micro-avionics, and a unique toroidal structure to produce a "green" robotic spacecraft that is powered by sunlight and uses hydrogen peroxide as rocket fuel. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is an oxygen enriched water compound commonly found in nature and biological systems. With the recent discovery of water on the Moon, the MX-1 has a potential source of rocket fuel on the lunar surface, a scenario that would be a game changer in the economics of lunar resources and solar system exploration.

"The spacecraft rockets use a high test version of the consumer level hydrogen peroxide widely available in drug stores," said Tim Pickens, Chief Propulsion Engineer at Moon Express and former propulsion lead for SpaceShipOne. "We're developing three new rocket engines at our Propulsion Development and Test Facilities in Huntsville and benefiting greatly from new advances in digital 3D design and fabrication tools."

The main MX-1 rocket engine is a dual mode bi-propellant system that also uses kerosene as an after burner to give the spacecraft the punch to break out of Earth orbit, accelerate to faster than a bullet, travel a million miles to beyond the Moon, and come back to break to zero velocity using its outboard thrusters as it touches the lunar surface. The spacecraft is designed to ride to Earth orbit on low cost secondary payload opportunities aboard commercial launchers like the SpaceX Falcon 9 that are radically reducing the cost of access to space.

About the size of a large coffee table, the MX-1 is a completely self-contained single stage spacecraft that can reach the surface of the Moon from a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) commonly used to place communications satellites above the Earth. It is also designed to be a flexible spacecraft platform that can support a number of applications including serving as a flexible, agile upper stage for existing launch systems enabling Earth orbit cubesat deployment, satellite servicing, and "space tug" applications such as cleaning up space debris.

"The MX-1 is not just a lunar lander, it is a spacecraft workhorse with many markets," said Moon Express Co-founder & CEO Bob Richards. "The MX-1 is the 'iPhone of space'; a platform capable of supporting many apps including our core plan of exploring the Moon for resources of benefit to humanity."

Moon Express is introducing the MX-1 as the first of a series of robotic space vehicles based on a scalable patent pending design to operate in Earth orbit and deep space destinations. Moon Express will utilize the MX-1 in its maiden technology demonstrator flight in 2015, delivering a number of commercial and government payloads to the Moon and pursuing the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE.

Moon Express engineers have combined the latest exponential technologies in micro-avionics with advanced propulsion and materials to create an innovative approach to spacecraft design and fabrication, empowered by leading edge Autodesk digital design tools to help make the impossible possible and reach for the Moon.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31441
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-19-2014 07:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Moon Express release
Moon Express Names Andy Aldrin as President

Former ULA-Boeing Executive Dr. Andrew Aldrin Joins Moon Express at a Time of Accelerating Growth

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.

As President of Moon Express, Dr. Aldrin will be responsible for day-to-day operations for the company. "Andy is a space industry veteran with an exceptional talent for strategic management and assimilating advanced technology concepts into market winners," said Bob Richards, Moon Express Co-Founder & CEO. "I have known Andy for decades, admiring the expanse of his space career from big picture thinker to street smart business executive. Andy's experience will be invaluable to MoonEx, and I have every confidence in an Aldrin piloting us toward the Moon."

Dr. Aldrin is the son of Apollo 11 lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin, who along with Neil Armstrong made their historic Moon landing on July 20th, 1969, becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world.

Prior to joining Moon Express, Dr. Aldrin was Director of Business Development and Advanced Programs at United Launch Alliance (ULA) where he oversaw development of corporate strategies, business capture, senior customer relations and advanced program development for civil space markets. Before ULA, Dr. Aldrin headed Business Development and Advanced Programs for Boeing's NASA Systems, and Launch Services business units. He has also served as a Resident Consultant at the RAND Corporation and Professional Research Staff Member at the Institute for Defense Analyses.

"I am thrilled to be part of an entrepreneurial company that is helping transform the commercial space industry," said Aldrin. "It is exciting to join a pioneering enterprise filled with passion and dedication to the bold dream of unlocking the Moon's mysteries and resources, and putting the United States back on the surface of the Moon in a permanent way."

Dr. Aldrin holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from UCLA, an MBA from TRIUM, a MA in Science Technology and Public Policy from The George Washington University, a BA in International Relations from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and is a graduate and Adjunct Faculty member of the International Space University. He has also been Adjunct Faculty at the University of Houston and California State University at Long Beach.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31441
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-22-2015 12:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Moon Express release
Moon Express Signs Agreement for Historic Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 36

Historic Cape Canaveral SLC-36 will now be central to Moon Express' commercial efforts to reach the Moon.

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.

SLC-36 is a launch complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Brevard County, Florida, that was used for Atlas launches from 1962 until 2005 with a total of 145 launches, including those that sent Surveyors to the Moon, Mariners to Mars and Pioneers to Jupiter, Saturn and beyond. The complex was decommissioned in 2007. In March 2010, the USAF 45th Space Wing issued Real Property Licenses to Space Florida for SLC-36 under a plan to make the facility available to commercial players.

Moon Express and Space Florida have signed an agreement that will lead to Moon Express spacecraft development and flight test operations at SLC-36 starting early this year. The agreement allows Moon Express and the state of Florida to make investments into the refurbishment of SLC-36, leading to a revitalized range and the immediate creation of 25-50 new jobs and potentially hundreds of direct and indirect new jobs over the next 5 years. Moon Express will be making an initial capital investment of up to $500K into SLC-36, which will allow initial operations to transfer over from the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility where the company's MTV-1X vehicle has been undergoing flight testing in partnership with NASA under the Lunar CATALYST program. It is anticipated that capital investments will grow into the millions, some of which may become eligible for reimbursement through the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) matching funds program.

"This historic site, from which U.S. lunar exploration began, is beginning a new mission as a commercial facility that will help take us back to the Moon," said Space Florida President Frank DiBello. "We are proud to partner with Moon Express on the development of SLC-36 and a new generation of exploration technologies in Florida."

Moon Express plans to send a series of robotic spacecraft to the Moon for ongoing exploration and commercial development. The company has explained that its opportunity is driven by exponential advances in technology that have brought complex systems and missions within reach of private enterprise. Moon Express is pursuing a long-term vision of exploring and unlocking the value of lunar resources, while developing innovative spacecraft designed to introduce new cost effective access to space beyond Earth orbit, including the Moon, the asteroids and the moon of Mars.

"We are honored to have an opportunity to establish permanent operations at Cape Canaveral SLC-36, at the place where the U.S. first went to the Moon," said Bob Richards, Moon Express co-founder and CEO. "The Moon is rising again in Florida thanks to the unequivocal support of Space Florida, NASA and the USAF 45th Space Wing in helping us create a home for manufacturing, integrating and testing our lunar lander test vehicles and spacecraft."

See here for discussion of Moon Express and its MX-1 lunar lander.

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