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Thu Jan 3, 2013, 02:16 PM

Private company developing commercial lunar lander

Source: Floriday Today

A private company that hopes to land paying customers on the moon has hired the builder of the first human landers to start designing a modern version.

Boulder, Co.-based Golden Spike Co., headed by former NASA executives, will work with Northrop Grumman Corp. on the preliminary design for a commercially flown lunar lander, including a review of concepts and mission requirements.

“This is a significant step forward in our plans,” said Gerry Griffin, Golden Spike’s board chairman and a former Apollo program flight director, in a press release. “Northrop Grumman brings Golden Spike a unique body of knowledge and skills as the only company to ever build a successful human-rated lunar lander, the Apollo Lunar Module.”

Northrop Grumman legacy companies, Grumman and TRW, designed and built the Lunar Module and Lunar Module Descent Engines for six Apollo moon landings between 1969 and 1972.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20130103/SPACE/130103011/Private-company-developing-commercial-lunar-lander?nclick_check=1

10 replies, 1507 views

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 02:24 PM

1. "Golden Spike hopes to fly two-person missions to the moon for about $1.5 billion"

So that's at least $ 750 million per ticket.


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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 02:27 PM

2. I smell disaster.

What, are they going to go through all of this to make 2 trips to the moon? How many times can Mitt Romney fly to the moon? And HE might not be able to afford it.

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Response to louis-t (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 02:54 PM

4. About two trips each year.

From the OP:
"Golden Spike is shooting for a moon landing by the end of the decade and believes 15 to 25 more expeditions could be flown in the decade that follows."

And from the article in post #3:
There are half-a-dozen nations that are sending robotic spacecraft to the moon in this decade alone, with orbiters and landers, and the price tags on all of those missions are right in the ballpark of what we are proposing in order to send two people to the moon.

So, clearly there is a need and there is something of a market among those nations. But even beyond those nations which are clearly capable of building spacecrafts themselves, there are many other nations and space programs around the world, countries that are trying to stimulate their industries, stimulate education, and just get a piece of the cachet and prestige associated with space travel and exploration, who don't have the funding or capability to develop a transportation system themselves, certainly not for people.

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Response to bananas (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 05:02 PM

6. I still say they won't get much business.

And I doubt they will make any money on it.

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Response to louis-t (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 04:33 PM

5. Note that the business model ISN'T space tourism...

... it's national science missions. The idea is that a country can send its astronauts to the moon for science / national prestige.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 02:37 PM

3. Radio Free Europe interviews Golden Spike's business manager

http://www.rferl.org/content/golden-spike-private-trips-railway-to-the-moon/24810367.html

Private Company Hopes To Build 'Railway' To The Moon
December 27, 2012

The last time a human went to the moon was 40 years ago this month. Now, a private U.S. company called Golden Spike is trying to reignite interest by creating a transport system to the moon that any nation can use. RFE/RL correspondent Charles Recknagel spoke to Golden Spike's business manager, Max Vozoff, to learn more.

RFE/RL: Your company, Golden Spike, announced earlier this month that it hopes to build a rocket system that will be able to fly two-person crews to the moon and back for a price of $1.5 billion per flight by 2020. You hope to interest nations around the world in renting your service to send their own astronauts to the moon. But which nations and to do what?

Max Vozoff: There are half-a-dozen nations that are sending robotic spacecraft to the moon in this decade alone, with orbiters and landers, and the price tags on all of those missions are right in the ballpark of what we are proposing in order to send two people to the moon.

So, clearly there is a need and there is something of a market among those nations. But even beyond those nations which are clearly capable of building spacecrafts themselves, there are many other nations and space programs around the world, countries that are trying to stimulate their industries, stimulate education, and just get a piece of the cachet and prestige associated with space travel and exploration, who don't have the funding or capability to develop a transportation system themselves, certainly not for people.

<snip>

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Response to bananas (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 05:37 AM

9. A Private Corporate Space Travel Services to the Highest National Bidders?

How lovely. How timely, for private interests to now try to cash-in on 40+ years
of taxpayers' public investment in space exploration technology.

This makes me feel really sad.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 06:29 PM

7. There's more to this

Either there is some serious technological breakthrough in propulsion engines, or this is some serious tax write-off.

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Response to Android3.14 (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 04:16 AM

8. That's my take too. This is only 1/2 the story, at best. Is this what happened to NASA?

During Summer of 2011, there was some public chatter about NASA space exploration was "being
abandoned" and/or being handed over to "the private sector". I remember feeling like no one
seemed very concerned about this, on DU or any other progressive or Democratic opinion leaders.

Could The International Space Station Be Abandoned?
http://www.npr.org/2011/08/30/140070131/could-the-international-space-station-be-abandoned

NASA's International Space Station May Be Abandoned in November
http://news.yahoo.com/nasas-international-space-station-may-abandoned-november-195500784.html

NASA To Outsource Space Travel To Private Companies As Part Of Obama's Budget Proposal
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/31/nasa-to-outsource-space-t_n_443549.html


Now seems nary an eyebrow is being raised, and little or no media analysis of WTF is REALLY happening
here, who exactly is profiting from this? ...and are those "profits" not at the expense of taxpayers, who
bankrolled the space program into existence with our tax dollars. Exactly WHO's idea was this in the
first place, and what was the reasoning? What's going on behind closed doors regarding future US space
exploration?

Was NASA "broken" somehow, in a way that privatization is now going to "fix", for some kind of private
gain (which I think are called "profits") <-- that's what private corporations DO, they are a quentessential
"creed of greed" and corruption, with purposes aligned with anti-democratic exploitation and oppression of
"the little people" and destruction of the planet?

This, as you may suspect by now, really pisses me off.

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Response to Android3.14 (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 06:26 AM

10. Space Adventures is selling 3-person circumlunar flights for $300M total

but one of those has to be a soyuz pilot, so the other two seats are $150M each.

http://www.space.com/11502-space-tourism-moon-mission-space-adventures.html

Next Giant Leap for Space Tourism: A Trip Around the Moon
Mike Wall, SPACE.com Senior Writer
Date: 28 April 2011 Time: 08:00 AM ET

<snip>

The moon mission will be different from Space Adventures' one-tourist-at-a-time trips to the space station. The three-seat Soyuz will carry two paying passengers to the moon, with the third seat occupied by a Russian mission commander, Shelley said.

And then there's the price. Space tourists reportedly paid between $20 million and $35 million to get to the station.

"It would be more, considerably more," Shelley said of the moon mission. The per-seat price would be "in the range of $150 million."

One customer overcame the sticker shock and signed his name on the dotted line. That deal was sealed last year, Shelley said. The moon mission could launch within five years if passenger number two signs on soon, he added.

<snip>

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