Rocket City Space Pioneers Mission: Racing Back to the Moon...
The mission of the Rocket City Space Pioneers team, made up of Huntsville team members Dynetics (team leader), Teledyne Brown Engineering, Andrews Space, Spaceflight Services, Draper Laboratory, Moog, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, the Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation (VCSI), and the Huntsville Center for Technology (HCT), is to win the Google Lunar X PRIZE. This is a $30 million international competition to safely land a robot on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send images and data back to the Earth.
Mission Updates - Check out these links for updates on Mission Components
Dynetics has brought together a well-seasoned team of companies who have worked together on multiple innovative spacecraft and propulsion programs performed on tight budgets with short delivery schedules. The team exemplifies the type of lean, innovative working relationship that is critical to the success of a program such as the Google Lunar X PRIZE.
Pickens was lead propulsion engineer for X PRIZE-winning SpaceShipOne
The team leader for the Rocket City Space Pioneers, Tim Pickens, was the lead propulsion engineer for the Ansari X PRIZE-winning SpaceShipOne team. Having participated on a winning X PRIZE team, Tim appreciates the gravity and benefits of such a technically challenging endeavor. The Ansari X PRIZE jump-started commercial space and an entrepreneurial spirit throughout the country and created opportunities for further innovation and commercialization.
The Rocket City Space Pioneers are developing a low-cost lunar lander/rover system for conducting commercial and scientific missions on the Moon and potentially other planetary bodies. The lander/rover system is capable of making a soft landing on a planetary body and deploying a rover.
Dynetics’ hand-selected team has the excitement, experience, and capabilities to produce a successful technical solution and, more importantly, a business case to make this endeavor a viable solution.
"The Rocket City"
Huntsville is known as “The Rocket City” for its impact on space exploration, so it is only fitting that a Huntsville team should go after this prize. Huntsville has been developing important space technologies since the 1950s when the German scientists headed by Dr. Wernher von Braun, brought to the United States at the end of World War II, arrived to develop rocketry for the U.S. Army. Huntsville lofted the first US satellite into orbit—Explorer I—in 1958.
Huntsville is home to Redstone Arsenal and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where the Saturn V used by the Apollo program manned Moon missions was developed. Huntsville continues to play a vital role in space exploration.
About the Google Lunar X PRIZE
The Google Lunar X PRIZE is an unprecedented competition that will challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. The X PRIZE Foundation, best known for the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private suborbital spaceflight, is an educational nonprofit prize organization whose goal is to bring about radical breakthroughs to solve some of the greatest challenges facing the world today.
To compete for the Google prize, a team must be at least 90 percent privately funded and must be registered to compete by December 31, 2010. The first team to land on the Moon and complete the mission objectives will be awarded $20 million; the full first prize is available until December 31, 2012.
OTHER PAGES ABOUT ROCKET CITY SPACE PIONEERS MISSION
The Google Lunar X PRIZE is an international competition in which teams compete to carefully land a robot on the Moon’s surface, travel 500 meters (1/3 of a mile) over the lunar surface, and then send high definition video, images, and data back to Earth .