Lunar Roundup: Firepower!
By Nick Azer on January 29, 2013
Welcome to this week’s Lunar Roundup! A power rankings-style look at who & what’s been “Awesome!” over the last seven days of the Google Lunar X PRIZE.
And boy---did the teams really fire up this week!
There was a huge update from Barcelona Moon on their long-term plans beyond the PRIZE; talk of "winning a war" and "firepower"; Plan B launching an attempt to create the first lunar currency; and Moon Express setting their sights on photographic history. A really fun week (and it was really hard to 'order' these---important updates galore!), so check them all out! One of the best weeks so far.
The five best hits (and then some) for the week o' January 22nd-28th:
1) The Plan!
They've established a new launch company----Galactic Suite EasySpace---and plan to use Chinese rockets to execute Lunar mission launches for €54 million Euros (~$73 million) each, or €1.35 million per kg of payload (up to 40kg) to the Moon's surface. For comparison, SpaceX's Falcon 9 launches to Earth orbit currently cost $54 million.
They state that their X PRIZE mission is just a 'demonstration' of their long-term capabilities!
Here's a video that Galactic Suite EasySpace has on their site about their launch partner, the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC):
edit: Originally stated Galactic Suite orbital launches were €54 million; in fact, that's the cost for lunar missions!
“We work like there's a war and we want to win.” - ARCA's Dumitru Popescu
ARCA's lead, Ansari X PRIZE veteran Dumitru Popescu, sat down for an awesome interview with ExplorersWeb.com, including details on their plans for an orbital flight of their Haas 2C rocket (pictured above) this year!:
"ExplorersWeb: Your plans for 2013?
Dumitru: An orbital launch, the maiden flight of the Haas 2C rocket and our first orbital flight."
Check out the interview for more on the Haas, the difficulties of Romanian government, and more!
Stellar's Robert Brand gave a well-spoken update on everything the team is doing:
“We’re coming in a little late, but we’re coming in with a lot of firepower.”
Have a listen to hear everything Stellar is doing right now to become a top-flight team:
4) The First Lunar Currency?
You can have your very own 'Lunaro' coins by getting them through Plan B's company, Adobri Solutions. Plan B is looking to popularize the coins as a more-or-less official currency, though at the very least it's a cool collector's item. Here's the reverse, which (being the far side of the Moon) was designed by "Nature" (with the front side designed by Yuri Savenkov):
Moon Express posted Part 2 of their talk with team member Jake Forsberg, where he talks about some awesome details of the unique Moon photography they'll be doing (including the never-photographed Earth with a background of stars), and how they'll be disproving Moon hoax theories along the way:
- Team Indus posted an awesome look at “known unknowns” and the day-to-day planning of a moon mission.
- Indus also posted a tribute to Aaron Swartz.
- Team Puli shared a great update/video on the Mars2013 project their rover is going to be a part of!
- Stellar sat down with a Croatian TV show that has a really awesome-looking set.
- ARCA announced a new sponsor: CardBlue (an 'electronic-card' company that puts 1% per transaction to innovation).
- ARCA also posted photos of their new Executor rocket engine testing facility!
- SpaceIL (who recently merged with the original Google Lunar X PRIZE team, Odyssey Moon) are going to be having a Silicon Valley event in Mountain View, CA on Wednesday, February 13th.
I’ll be rounding these up on a weekly basis, so keep an eye here for all the most awesome developments.
For the full skinny on everything that happens, follow the official feeds for team blogs, team social, and team videos!
And if you have any favorite stories that I didn’t post here...share ’em in the comments below!