Google Sponsors Competition to the Moon for Private Firms

In the wake of the last Space Shuttle landing from NASA, here is an interesting news article entitled “Race to the moon heats up for private firms” from The Salt Lake Tribune, that offers hope for prospective space travelers.

Spurred by a $30 million purse put up by Google, 29 teams have signed up for a competition to become the first private venture to land on the moon. Most of them are unlikely to overcome the financial and technical challenges to meet the contest deadline of December 2015, but several teams think they have a good shot to win — and to take an early lead in a race to take commercial advantage of our celestial neighbor.

One Silicon Valley venture, Moon Express, is positioning itself as a future FedEx for moon deliveries: If you have something to send there, they would like to bring it. The company planned a party Thursday night to show off the flight capabilities of its lunar lander, a prototype it bought from NASA.

Another competitor, Astrobotic Technology, intends to sell berths on its lunar lander to space agencies and scientific institutions, which would pay $820,000 a pound to send up their experiments. The company, a spinoff from Carnegie Mellon University, is building a large craft — much bigger than Moon Express’ — capable of carrying 240 pounds of payload (read: $200 million of cargo) and hopes to be ready to launch in December 2013.

Read more at the link above. Here is a link to the Google Lunar X Prize page showing a list of the competing teams.

While governments are going broke and economies are crumbling, it is actually heart warming to see private companies enter the space race. Free enterprise is the only way conceivable where ordinary citizen may in the future be given a chance to fly to space. Just as in the case of the airline industry where flying was once only possible for the rich and powerful. More power to private space companies.

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About propulsiontech

Propulsion technologist, aerospace engineer
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2 Responses to Google Sponsors Competition to the Moon for Private Firms

  1. Paul says:

    I have to agree with your sentiments, if ever the time comes when the average person is able to fly in space, it will be as a result of private funding. Plus it seems like there has been a recent flurry of small private companies involved with low cost space flight over the last ten years especially since the X-prize was claimed.
    Although there was a beautiful looking liquid fuelled rocket motor for sale on Ebay UK this week for £900, from a team that had ran out of funding and had folded. It’s a shame, because this sector needs these dedicated amateurs..
    (Great blog by the way!)

  2. Thanks, Paul. And thanks for the tip about the rocket on Ebay. Checked it out just now and it has been relisted since no one bid on it. That is a shame. I’m envious of your ramjet project. Best of luck and I’d be interested in checking back on its progress. We need more enterprising rocket scientists like yourself to enter the space race. Like this private rocketeer also from the UK that I came across a couple of weeks ago, Daniel Jubb. https://propulsiontech.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/1000-mph-faster-than-sound-land-speed-record-attempt-coming-late-2011/ Good luck on your final year.

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