NASA Awards Moon Express New Task in $10M Commercial Lunar Data Contract
Mountain View, CA (March 5, 2012) – Moon Express, a Google Lunar X PRIZE contender, announced today that it has won an additional task order from NASA under its Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data (ILDD) Program contract. The newest task order in the $10M ILDD contract calls for Moon Express to provide NASA with data about the company’s progress through a Preliminary Design Checkpoint Technical Package that documents details of mission operations, spacecraft development, payload accommodations and Planetary Protection Plans.
Silicon Valley-based Moon Express was one of only three U.S. companies awarded the first $500K Task Order under NASA’s ILDD program. Successful completion of the newest task order will bring the company’s ILDD awards to $610,000. Although an important substantiation of NASA’s interest in commercial lunar providers, the ILDD contract represents a fraction of the investment needed to execute a commercial lunar mission. The majority of Moon Express funding is coming from private investors and is supplemented by revenues from payload customers.
“We are very pleased to receive another ILDD contract award from NASA,” said Bob Richards, co-founder and CEO of Moon Express. “NASA is an important partner in our reach for the Moon.”
Moon Express is the first company to flight test a prototype lunar lander system designed for the Moon, developed in partnership with NASA. The company plans to send a series of robotic spacecraft to the Moon for ongoing exploration and commercial development focused on benefits to Earth. In the near future, Moon Express will not only be delivering important payloads to the Moon but will also be exploring the Moon for the potential of mining precious materials we need here on Earth like platinum group metals, rare earth elements and Helium3 (used to create a second generation fusion fuel for electrical generation).
Moon Express is adapting NASA’s Common Spacecraft Bus for use in small, low cost spacecraft designed to deliver payloads to a variety of locations, including lunar orbit and the lunar surface, Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Earth-Moon Lagrange points, and Near Earth Objects (NEOs). The Common Spacecraft Bus allows the company to design low-cost missions, launch on a variety of commercial rockets and deliver flexible payloads to the lunar surface and various orbits. Moon Express signed a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement with NASA in 2010 to invest over $500K into the commercialization of the agency’s technology in return for technical assistance.