Landing NASA: Astrobotic Selected for Big Moon Landing Tests
NASA has this thing called the Flight Opportunities Program, where they give budding new technologies an opportunity to show off their stuff.
In this case, Astrobotic (based out of Pittsburgh, PA) will be taking over the brain of a Masten Aerospace Xombie lander, and flying it into the desert skies (and back down again) later this year!
The Xombie, which loves running on Astrobotic's brains.
Astrobotic has flown on the Xombie before, but landing on the Moon is pretty freaking hard, so this gives them further opportunity to fine-tune their approach in the field---all in the audience of NASA.
Check out one of their previous Xombie flights here, from this CNET inside look:
And this cool NASA on-board flight video:
While Astrobotic is competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, Masten competed for the 2009 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge---and won a cool $1 million prize! Astrobotic themselves, of course, also won a $1 million prize for lunar landing, back in January of this year. Not bad! Goes to show that pushing NewSpace not only drives the future, but brings back home some bling as well.
And, at this rate....a lot of that bling will be coming from that $30 million prize purse we have! It'll be exciting to see more partnerships like this spring up, as everyone in the mainstream---including NASA---catch on to just how epic these teams, and their stories, are!