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Silicon Valley, CA (July 12, 2012)Moon Express, Inc., a provider of commercial and scientific missions to the Moon, announced today that Dr. James (Jimi) Crawford has joined the company as Chief Technology Officer and Software Architect. An expert in artificial intelligence and spacecraft systems, Dr. Crawford has held distinguished positions at NASA; led entrepreneurial Silicon Valley start-ups; and in 2009 became Engineering Director for Google Books in charge of scanning the world's books and making them searchable online.

As Moon Express Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Dr. Crawford will guide and pioneer the development of advanced technologies supporting the company’s long term vision. Additionally as Software Architect, he will lead the company’s spacecraft and mission software development for the company’s space missions including the pursuit of the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE.

The addition of Dr. Crawford to Moon Express’ technical team accelerates the company’s momentum as the leading contender in the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition. “We are thrilled to have Jimi join us as CTO and Software Architect,” said Moon Express co-Founder and CEO Bob Richards. “With Jimi’s combined space mission and software experience, our technical team just took another giant leap forward.”

Prior to joining Google, Dr. Crawford was Executive Vice president at Composite Software, an enterprise software startup in the Bay Area, with responsibility for engineering and product development.

Before joining Composite Software, Dr. Crawford spent three years at NASA's Ames Research Center as lead for Autonomy and Robotics. Among many other projects, his teams delivered the optimized activity planner used by both the Opportunity and Spirit Mars rovers, demonstrated next generation rovers with much higher levels of autonomy, and created optimized spacecraft antenna using genetic algorithms. He was also a member of several boards and working groups including the DART mishap investigation board. 

Prior to joining NASA, Dr. Crawford was the optimization architect for i2 Technologies' supply chain planner, co-founded the Computational Intelligence Research Laboratory (CIRL) at the University of Oregon, and worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories (back when the creators of Unix were still in residence).

Dr. Crawford has authored over 15 papers in referred journals and conferences, and holds five patents. He received his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in Artificial Intelligence and his B.A. in Mathematics and Computer Science from Rice University.

“Moon Express is a unique nexus of space technology experience and Silicon Valley style innovation,” said Jimi Crawford. “The company has an exciting vision of commercial exploration and I am extremely pleased to join the team to reach for the Moon.”

About Moon Express
Selected by Forbes as one of the 15 ‘Names You Need to Know’ in 2011, Moon Express (MoonEx) is a privately funded lunar transportation and data services company based at the NASA Ames Research Park in Silicon Valley. The company plans to send a series of robotic spacecraft to the Moon for ongoing exploration and commercial development focused on benefits to Earth and has signed a partnership agreement with NASA for development of a lunar lander system.

Moon Express was selected by NASA in 2010 for its $30M Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data program, becoming one of only three US companies to be paid by NASA for access and insight into the company’s commercial lunar plans.

Moon Express is also a leading contender in the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE competition, which challenges privately funded teams to place a robot on the Moon’s surface that transmits high definition video, images and data back to Earth from the landing site and from 500 meters away.

The Moon Express founders, Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards, Naveen Jain, and Dr. Barney Pell, believe in the long term economic potential of the Moon to produce planetary resources essential to humanity’s future on Earth and in space.

Jimi's move to Moon Express is already making waves in the space community 


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