Moon Express Announces Multi-Mission Launch Contract with Dedicated Rockets
By XPRIZE on October 21, 2015
Image: Moon Express CEO Bob Richards and Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck .
Google Lunar XPRIZE team Moon Express has announced a launch services contract with Rocket Lab USA for not just one, but a series of 5 launches, with two launches manifested in 2017. Under the terms of the Google Lunar XPRIZE extension to 2017, Moon Express has until the end 2016 to submit their official Notification of Launch Contract to XPRIZE Foundation for verification and approval of the contract to remain in the competition.
“We are building a real business,” said Moon Express CEO Bob Richards. “We wanted to be in a situation where we are continually adding new capabilities with every launch and provide easy and affordable access to the Moon using our innovative spacecraft designs."
The launches will be carried out by Rocket Lab’s innovative Electron rocket, which the company describes as “small, fast and agile,” with the capability to deliver small satellites to commercial orbits at a “95 percent reduction in cost over the average launch of today.” Recently, NASA announced the award of a $6.95M Venture Class Launch Services contract to Rocket Lab.
Moon Express describes its MX-1 lander as a truly innovative design that takes full advantage of exponential technologies in material sciences and 3D printing..
“Moon Express is backed by visionary entrepreneurs from all over the planet who believe in the power of small teams to impact our future,” Richards said. “Going to the Moon is not just about building a great business, it’s also about redefining the possible and inspiring everyone to reach for their own dreams, no matter where you are, even if it's a ‘moonshot’.Moon Express wants to change the way people think about going to the Moon by breaking away from traditional thinking. Instead of relying on big and expensive rockets or the risks of rideshares with other payloads, Moon Express has designed a new type of spacecraft that can use low cost dedicated rockets and reach the Moon from low Earth orbit.. The modular design of Moon Express’s MX-1 lander allows it to scale and be flexible to accommodate any number of configurations, rockets, and launch scenarios, including the Rocket Lab Electron.” .
The bottom line: bigger is not always better, and having a more lightweight craft and two missions manifested for 2017 (instead of just one) could prove to be an asset!
The approaches to the #NewSpaceRace are becoming quite varied and fascinating, and should make for an awesome 2017 as teams jockey for position and balance risks in order to see who can make it to the Moon first—and claim the $30 million in prizes.
Stay tuned as new approaches and plans develop, and the race for the Moon continues to heat up! #GLXP