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Astrobiotic Technology Press Release
|Astrobotic Technology, Inc. ||March 15, 2010 |
NASA takes a sustainable path
to space exploration
By canceling the Constellation program, NASA has embarked on a search for sustainable routes to space exploration, emphasizing the robotic precursors that Astrobotic Technology and its partners at Carnegie Mellon University have been developing in a multi-year multi-million dollar effort.
The company today announces that it will have abundant payload capability to deliver the types of cost-cutting activities sought by NASA in its new direction. See the links below for the payload spec sheet and the Request for Information from payload developers.
Astrobotic Technology announces expanded opportunities to send payloads to the Moon
PITTSBURGH, PA - March 15, 2010 - Astrobotic Technology today announced that it has vastly increased the amount of payload that it can deliver to the Moon for researchers and marketers, as part of its maiden expedition in 2012 to win the Google Lunar X Prize.
"We will carry 240 pounds to the lunar surface for space agency technologists, academic researchers and marketers," said David Gump, president of Astrobotic. The company previously had offered only 12 pounds of payload to third parties.
The company posted a technical description of the service on its Web site, along with a "Request for Information" asking potential users to characterize how they would use this capability.
Celestis Inc. already has reserved 11 of the 240 pounds available on the initial Moon mission. Houston-based Celestis operates a space burial service for cremated remains, with eight missions thus far to the Moon, Earth orbit or a suborbital trajectory.
The remaining 229 pounds are available for $700,000 per pound, plus a $250,000 fee per payload to cover the engineering costs of integrating it into either the expedition's lander or its solar-powered robot.
Ordinarily, researchers seeking access to the Moon or other planetary surface must develop an entire multi-instrument mission themselves. NASA spends several hundred million dollars for each of its 'Discovery' and 'New Frontiers' projects. The Astrobotic by-the-pound approach enables researchers and marketers to deploy a single instrument to the lunar surface for substantially less cost.
Astrobotic's mission is pursuing a Google prize that will award up to $25 million for the first team to reach the Moon with an independently developed robot that transmits high-definition video after traveling at least 500 meters. Astrobotic will earn additional revenue from carrying payloads for space agencies, aerospace contractors and corporations.
To get both its 150-pound rover and 240 pounds of third-party payload to the Moon, Astrobotic intends to exploit the impressive lift capability of the Falcon 9 rocket developed by Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX. The initial launch of the Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral is expected in the several weeks, following up on extensive ground testing and two successful launches of the precursor Falcon 1 rocket. Last year NASA awarded $1.6 billion in contracts to SpaceX to have the Falcon 9 deliver supplies to the International Space Station.
Astrobotic Technology Inc. plans a series of robotic Moon missions, first winning the Google prize and visiting Apollo 11 on the "Tranquility Trek" expedition in 2012. Later missions will prospect for water ice in at the Moon's poles and seek out volcanic caves as low-cost shelters for both robots and astronauts. NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has found three holes in the lunar surface that may be "skylights" into volcanic caves (lava tubes) beneath the surface.
| About Astrobotic Technology, Inc. |
Astrobotic Technology was spun out from the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University in March 2008. Together they have won three NASA lunar research contracts and two contracts from commercial firms. Prototype rovers are now being field-tested at Carnegie Mellon University by Dr. William "Red" Whittaker, the firm's chairman. The company will license lunar data, deliver payloads and perform on-the-surface services for space agencies, aerospace contractors, researchers, corporate marketers and the media. More information is available at www.astrobotictech.com.
4551 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213
Astrobotic Technology, Inc.
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