Moon Express acquires Rocket City Space Pioneers in a teaming agreement with Dynetics to send the Spirit of Alabama to the Moon
Moon Express, Inc., a provider of commercial and scientific missions to the Moon, announced today it has reached a Teaming Agreement with Dynetics for the acquisition of the Rocket City Space Pioneers (RCSP) Google Lunar X PRIZE Team. The agreement brings the substantial space capabilities of Dynetics to the Moon Express team for the pursuit of commercial lunar missions, and will leverage and carry forward the substantial work done by RCSP supported by its visionary partners: Dynetics, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Andrews Aerospace, Draper Laboratory, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Moog, Huntsville Center for Technology, and Analytical Mechanics Associates.
The agreement also allows for the transition of RCSP’s team leader, Tim Pickens, to the role of Moon Express’ chief propulsion engineer. Pickens is an award-winning rocket pioneer and was the lead propulsion designer for Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne, which won the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE in 2004.
In honor of the legacy and incalculable contribution that Huntsville and the State of Alabama have made to the U.S. space program, the Moon Express lander will carry to the surface of the Moon the “Spirit of Alabama” insignia, a historic artifact that will be developed in collaboration with the RCSP partners to be attached to the lander or one of its mobility systems.
Both Moon Express and RCSP/Dynetics were selected by NASA in the fall of 2010 for commercial lunar data contracts worth up to $10 million each. Moon Express and RCSP have been recognized as leading contenders for the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE. Both entered the competition in 2010, with RCSP engaging a consortium of highly reputable and experienced partners from the Huntsville area to become one of the most formidable Google Lunar X PRIZE contenders. With the deep technical expertise and contributions of Dynetics and its partners, together with support from the State of Alabama and the notoriety of its team leader, RCSP engaged the hearts and minds of schoolchildren and the public in a substantial STEM outreach program, while advancing its technical plans and developing prototype propulsion systems for its lunar lander.
The Teaming Agreement with Dynetics and acquisition of RCSP adds to Moon Express’ substantial momentum as a leading contender in the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition. “The players behind the Rocket City Space Pioneers are true visionaries and entrepreneurs,” said Naveen Jain, Moon Express co-founder and chairman. “We look forward to working with Dynetics and its partners in carrying forward the innovation and vision of the Rocket City Space Pioneers.”
Dr. Marc Bendickson, Dynetics CEO, commented that the teaming with Moon Express is testimony to the hard work and dedication of the RCSP partners. “Dynetics and its partners have made remarkable technical progress with the Rocket City Space Pioneers venture,” he remarked. “We are proud to bring our energy and value to the table with Moon Express in a way that continues our dreams of sending the Spirit of Alabama to the Moon.”
Dynetics delivers the “Power of Solutions” to government and commercial customers in the areas of intelligence, missiles, aviation, cyber and space. Based in Huntsville, Ala., with offices throughout the United States, Dynetics is a mid-tier company that provides complete lifecycle analysis, engineering and hardware solutions to support customer missions. For more information visit: www.dynetics.com.
ABOUT THE GOOGLE LUNAR XPRIZE
Generously funded by Google, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE is an unprecedented competition to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. To win the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a privately-funded team must successfully place a robot on the Moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters (1/3 of a mile) and transmits high definition video and images back to Earth. The first team to do so will claim a $20 million Grand Prize, while the second team will earn a $5 million Prize. Teams are also eligible to win a $1 million award for stimulating diversity in the field of space exploration and as much as $4 million in bonus prizes for accomplishing additional technical tasks such as moving ten times as far, surviving the frigid lunar night, or visiting the site of a previous lunar mission. The Google Lunar X PRIZE is available to be claimed until the end of 2015. For more information about the Google Lunar X PRIZE and the teams currently registered in the competition visit www.googlelunarxprize.org.