Moon Minute: Four Rockets
India’s Team Indus has had their official launch contract to the Moon verified by XPRIZE (for a December 2017 launch), making them the one of four teams in the Google Lunar XPRIZE so far to have achieved this milestone.
Each of these four teams---SpaceIL, Moon Express, Synergy Moon, and Indus, with perhaps more to come before the December 31st deadline---will be using a different rocket. So, without further ado, here’s a quick look at each of the rockets these teams will be using to launch for the Moon in 2017!
SpaceIL: SpaceX’s Falcon 9
The famous Falcon 9 will be taking Israel’s team SpaceIL to the Moon late next year. In case you forgot how epic this was, here’s a look at the Falcon not just lifting off, but landing again;
This mission could very well become SpaceX’s first launch of a payload to go beyond Earth’s orbit. A major milestone for both a Google Lunar XPRIZE team, and a history-making company!
Moon Express: Rocket Lab’s Electron
An up-and-coming rocket set for early 2017 tests, the Electron is a sleek rocket that plans to have the highest launch frequency of any in the world, from Rocket Lab’s gorgeous launch site in New Zealand.
Here’s the rocket by the numbers:
And a bonus look at the launch site:
Synergy Moon: Interorbital’s Neptune
Another bold and up-and-coming rocket, the slender Neptune can be combined to make for larger launches, including Synergy Moon’s effort to get to the Moon. Here’s a look a test flight of the Neptune, complete with Go Pro-on-rocket:
Indus: the Indian Space Research Organisation’s PSLV
A workhorse and a proven rocket, the Indian PSLV will carry Team Indus’ mission to the Moon (through the Indian Space Research Organisation/ISRO’s private wing) from the famed launch site, Sriharikota. Here’s a look at one of the newest efforts of the PSLV:
Which rocket do you think is the coolest and why? Let us know in the comments (and on social media with #GLXP), and keep an eye on this rocket race to the Moon as the engines get hot for 2017!
Author: Nick Azer ; Editor: Susan Emmer