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Quantum3 withdrew from competition in August 2008.

The Google Lunar XPRIZE appeals to the best of America's pioneering spirit. Quantum3 Ventures was formed in this spirit with the firm conviction that the first voyage to the moon in 35 years can and should be led by an American team showcasing American technology.

This is a unique time in the history of space. The Google Lunar XPRIZE will move space exploration out of the sole domain of national governments and billion dollar projects. Much as Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean transformed aviation, the XPRIZE challenge to land on the moon without significant government participation will transform aeronautics.

Quantum3 is uniquely positioned to be the team that continues America's tradition of innovation and leadership in space exploration. Three seasoned executives, Paul Carliner, Courtney Stadd and Liam Sarsfield, founded the venture in January 2008. Together, they share more than 50 years of leadership experience in the aerospace industry and government.

The Quantum3 Ventures mission will field a small spacecraft launched from an East Coast range using launch-coast-burn trajectory for a propulsive soft landing on the surface of the Moon at the Sea of Tranquility, the historic site of the world's first moon landing. Quantum3's partnership approach to the mission will bring together the best and brightest from academia, including minority-serving institutions, and the private sector. This mission will make the most of each community's unique intellectual capital and technological capabilities. 

Why did you decide to enter the Google Lunar XPRIZE?

Quantum3 was founded on the idea that landing on the Moon for the first time in more than 35 years should be an American led venture. Quantum3 wants to pursue the XPRIZE by bringing together the best and brightest from the academic community and the private sector to achieve mission success without significant government participation. We believe that the Google Lunar XPRIZE represents a paradigm shift in how the world sees space exploration. In the same way that Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic changed the way the world looked at aviation, we believe the Google Lunar X-Prize could change the way the world views space exploration. The XPRIZE represents the best of America’s pioneering spirit and Quantum3 wants to be the team that continues America’s tradition of innovation and leadership in space exploration.

What do you think gives your team an advantage over your competitors?

The cofounders of Quantum3 have more than 50 years of combined experience in the aerospace sector. Each partner has held positions at senior levels of the federal government and the private sector combining engineering, management, entrepreneurship and executive experience together in one team. Quantum3 has extensive relationships within the aerospace industry that allows us to assemble the best engineers, scientists, managers and mission specialists in each field in order to achieve mission success.

Describe in general terms your technical plans for winning the prize:

Quantum3 proposes to launch from an East Coast range in 2009 on two week launch windows. Quantum3 intends to be a U.S.-led venture to meet the mission requirements and capture the XPRIZE. Quantum3 believes it is possible to land a robotic craft on the surface of the Moon using a combination of commercially available and specially designed products and technologies that are flexible, reliable and low cost.

The Quantum3 approach to landing on the Moon involves a computer controlled descent method using liquid propellant. Architecture studies are currently underway to ascertain the best approach from an engineering and mission risk standpoint.

In terms of meeting the 500 meter roving requirement, Quantum3 is currently studying the effectiveness of sub-element mobility versus main element mobility and expects to finalize architecture in late 2008.

For communication, Quantum3 is looking at a range of options available for a mission of this type. 

How, where, and when will your craft land on the Moon?

Quantum3 intends to land at the Sea of Tranquility in 2009.


Paul Carliner is a cofounder and president of Quantum3. He also recently founded and is president of Carliner Strategies, L.L.C., a Washington, D.C., strategic consulting and government relations firm.

Carliner previously served as staff director of the U.S. Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over NASA's budget, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. In this role, Carliner drafted and implemented the annual $50 billion appropriations bill covering two cabinet departments of the U.S. government as well as NASA, NOAA, NSF and other civilian science agencies.

During 17 years of service in the U.S. Senate, Carliner developed a unique space science background and knowledge of NASA and the American space program. He served as the chief advisor to U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) on space and science issues for more than eight years. Previously, he held the position of legislative assistant to former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME).

Courtney Stadd, cofounder and senior vice president of Quantum3, has more than 25 years of experience in the aerospace industry. Stadd also currently serves as executive vice president for external affairs of TerreStar Corporation, which has raised almost $1 billion to build, own and operate the first 4G integrated mobile satellite and terrestrial communications network in North America.

He previously founded and was president of Capitol Alliance Solutions, L.L.C., a Washington, D.C., management services firm established in 1993. The firm served a broad range of public and private sector clients in aerospace and high technology by developing and executing strategies to capture greater market share in both the federal arena and in the private sector. Stadd has held a mix of senior federal government and corporate executive jobs.

During his public service career, Stadd held senior policy and program management positions in the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Transportation, where he directed the office responsible for licensing private launch ventures. Stadd served on the White House National Space Council and was appointed NASA Chief of Staff and White House Liaison for two NASA administrators until returning to the private sector in 2003.

In the commercial sector, Stadd worked on a wide range of pathfinder industry sectors, including space transportation, global positioning systems, and high resolution satellite remote sensing. Stadd was associated with the pioneering success of Bigelow Aerospace, which successfully built and deployed the first privately-funded, for under $100 million, inflatable mini space stations used for both research and entertainment in earth's orbit.

Liam Sarsfield, Quantum3 cofounder and senior vice president, is a former NASA deputy chief engineer and one of the nation's foremost experts in spacecraft design, mission planning and aerospace engineering. Sarsfield brings to the team more than 30 years experience as a space systems engineer.

Sarsfield previously has managed small spacecraft development for Lockheed Martin and authored Cosmos on a Shoestring, a primer on low-cost spacecraft. Sarsfield has unparalleled experience as a senior aerospace engineer. He has developed, built, tested and operated many missions for both NASA and for the commercial aerospace industry. His knowledge and professional network will make it possible for Quantum3 to assemble the caliber of engineering and mission management leaders crucial to winning the Google Lunar XPRIZE.

Team Members

  1. Paul Carliner
Team Leader:
Paul Carliner
United States

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