Monday, 20 November, 2017

Moon Express Announces Plan for Solar System Exploration

To mine the Moon, private company Moon Express plans to build a fleet of robotic landers Moon Express unveils robotic probe plans, aims lunar sample return by 2020
Frank Williams | 13 July, 2017, 21:54

Cape Canaveral, Florida-based Moon Express is developing a fleet of low-priced robotic spacecraft that can be assembled like Legos to handle increasingly complex missions, founder and Chief Executive Officer Bob Richards said in an interview.

The MX-2 spacecraft design is double the size and capability of the MX-1.

Besides vying for the X Prize, Moon Express will fly science equipment and payloads for at least three paying customers, including Houston-based Celestis, which offers memorial spaceflights for cremated remains. The MX-5 would use five MX-1 PECO engine pods to support a large lander platform that could take as much as 150 kg to the lunar surface from LEO. For the third mission, the company plans to send an MX-2 to the moon, use it to retrieve surface samples, and then send part of it back to the Earth carrying the samples.

The second expedition, to be launched in 2018, is set to explore the Moon's South Pole. In the future, they may act as deep space probes.

Sudan freezes negotiations with United States following delay in lifting sanctions
Ghandour blamed the USA move on pressure groups which he said had benefited from the sanctions and the conflicts in Sudan.

Industry experts say that mining there is beneficial for everyone.

The startup, based out of Cape Canaveral, Florida, is poised to launch its MX-1E lander by the end of 2017 - which is a criteria that must be met by all of the remaining Lunar X Prize competitors - but it's already setting its sights a future beyond the contest. However, first things first-Moon Express needs to prove it can successfully land their small MX-1E spacecraft on the moon before any plans for lunar harvesting in 2020 can begin in earnest. The price to be won is the funding to launch a spacecraft to the lunar surface. A laser altimeter is now undergoing testing at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and the main platform of the lander, a carbon composite "unibody" that incorporates the structure of the craft and its propellant tanks, is still being manufactured. The first vehicle is called the MX-1E and it is billed as a high-performance craft that is both eco-friendly and technically advanced. The Electron rocket, made by private spaceflight company Rocket Lab, is slated to carry Lunar Scout but has never yet reached orbit. Engadget reported that the company is still working on the Electron rocket.

The core piece of hardware to make all of that happen is a single-engine lander called the MX-1, which will launch on the GLXP flight. The company expects to complete the first spacecraft in September.

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