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ILO-X - Global Demo Video

On December 18th, 2011, Moon Express produced a Global Demonstration of the International Lunar Observatory precursor instrument (ILO-X) on the Summit of Mauna Kea, Hawai’i. This demonstration was a substantial milestone in the development of the ILO-X, which Moon Express has designed and is building under contract to the International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA).

An international community of scientists is taking part in the development of this privately sponsored optical space telescope that will be launched to the Moon aboard the inaugural Moon Express mission and deliver back first ever astronomical images from the lunar surface.

This video documents the ILO-X Global Demo and the days leading up to it. Despite some twists provided by unexpectedly deteriorating conditions on Mauna Kea, the experiment met all key goals and proved the viability of an internet-based command and control software architecture for a remote instrument operating in a harsh environment with spacecraft imposed characteristics and limitations.


The International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) is led by American businessman / educator Steve Durst, who plans to place an astronomical observatory on the Moon by 2014 that will capture never before seen images of the Galaxy, Stars, Moon and Earth. The ILO-X precursor mission will provide valuable experience and risk reduction for a future South Pole ILO mission.

The ILO-X is expanding the model of commercial space investment to the Moon to do science, education, exploration and commercial activities – such as Lunar Broadcasting of Space Calendar through affiliated Space Age Publishing Company. “The primary goal of the International Lunar Observatory is to expand human understanding of the Galaxy and Cosmos through observation from our Moon," said ILOA founder and director, Steve Durst. “We are extremely encouraged by our Global Demonstration and are excited about sending the ILO-X to the Moon.”

Moon Express, has designed and is building the ILO-X as the first optical astronomical telescope that will operate on the Moon, looking out at the Galaxy and heavens beyond and back at the Earth. About the size of a shoe-box, the ILO-X is using leading edge optical and imaging technology to deliver dramatic inspiring deep sky pictures of objects inside and outside our Milky Way Galaxy.

“The ILO will allow researchers, educators and students from around the world to access astronomical images from the surface of the Moon,” said Bob Richards, founder and CEO of Moon Express. “It's inspirational science at its best.”

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