by Robert Brand
Three years ago I had nothing to do with space other than Moon Bounce – using amateur radio to bounce signals off the moon and back to earth.
Today I just accepted the roll of manager for Communications, Navigation and Data (CND) for an attempt to land a probe on the moon and beam back video from a rover that has to travel 500m. The team is called Team Stellar and it is new. The team is in competition for the Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP). What is the GLXP? From their website:
The Google Lunar X PRIZE is igniting a new era of lunar exploration by offering the largest international incentive prize of all time. A total of $30 million in prizes are available to the first privately funded teams to safely land a robot on the surface of the Moon, have that robot travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send video, images and data back to the Earth. Teams must be at least 90% privately funded, though commercially reasonable sales to government customers are allowed without limit.
Team registration for the competition closed on December 31, 2010. There are currently 26 teams located around the world who are fundraising, mission planning, and building robots in a new race to the Moon — what we like to call, “Moon 2.0”. The teams have until the end of 2015 to get to the Moon, meet the prize objectives, and win the prize purses.
You can look at their website here: http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEWaglgOoNM%5D
As you may have noticed, registration had closed and that meant that the new players had to buy an old team to make this a reality. So who or what is the new Team Stellar?
You can look here: http://teamstellar.org
I am not on the site yet, but this will happen soon. This is the mission:
Team Stellar is one of 25 teams competing for the Google Lunar X Prize and plans to send a robotic spacecraft to the Moon. The Google Lunar X prize is an international moon exploration challenge organized by the X Prize Foundation, and sponsored by Google, to land a robotic craft on the lunar surface, to travel at least 1,650 feet (500 meters) and send data and high definition images back to Earth. The first privately funded team to do this by Dec. 31, 2015, will receive the $20 million grand prize.
Team Stellar’s spacecraft and rover plan to navigate to the Moon, execute a soft landing on the surface, and conduct and extended exploration of the lunar surface all while streaming live 3D Stereoscopic High Definition video back to Earth.
KGo Aerospace and i7 Engineering are sponsoring Team Stellar and are driving the development of the spacecraft through strategic partnerships with other aerospace and technology companies around the United States. Team Stellar has partnered with i7 Engineering to development the rover vehicle and all supporting systems.
My company PlusComms is also involved. It will be a partner. More on that later. It is early days and there is a lot to learn. I will be traveling around the world a lot with this role and I need to get lots of support for the navigation side of this!!!
There may be opportunity for others from OTC days to be involved with the mission and the fun. I will let you know, but it is all rather crazy stuff these days.