Thursday, December 06, 2007

Odyssey Moon and CMU Moon Team Rollout

Continuing the news from my earlier post, here's more on the rollout of 2 Google Lunar X PRIZE competitors. (The links I gave earlier are a good place to start, though).

The Odyssey Moon site is now up and running. It's time to go surfing around there and find out all the details about the project. The Google Lunar X PRIZE site has a full page of such details. The Planetary Society has announced a role on the project, as does big-time aerospace firm MDA.

Apparently Odyssey Moon was in the works before the Lunar X PRIZE announcement, but the prize has brought focus to their efforts. notes that the Google Lunar X Prize was a catalyst to their plans – but the group had been shaping a lunar business strategy and a pathfinder mission to the Moon for over a year. also gives insight into their business plan:

Richards said that science, exploration and technology validation will be the Moon market needs of government enterprises. "There are ways that the private sector can play a role in helping them do that."

Moreover, there are ancillary markets that also constitute lunar dealing, Richards added, be it for entertainment, education, or novelty ideas. "But those are not driving what we see as our business plan. We are an exploration company for lunar commerce."

According to the Planetary Society link, the Odyssey Moon lander is designed to deliver scientific, exploration and commercial payloads to the surface of the Moon.

Meanwhile, Space Pragmatism has a press release on the CMU Moon Prize Team, which is using the experience of Raytheon. The Moon Prize team has formed AstroBotic to go after the prize. The business clearly also intends to go after more markets than the prize itself:

Astrobotic Technology, Inc. is the commercial organization through which Dr. Whittaker plans to carry out the lunar mission as well as engage in potential commercial orbital transfer services and potential cis-lunar services that may be best enabled by leading-edge robotics.

Both teams are making their announcements at the Space Investment Summit 3.

Not to be a Grinch, but it would be good to hear some healthy skepticism about the teams' plans along with the promotion. I'd like to see no more and no less skepticism than what's needed to make the teams think seriously, if they haven't already, about their business plans. I suppose these 2 teams have considered their business, but have all ~340 teams? The Space Cynics, at least 1 of which is supposed to be at the Investment Summit, should be able to do the job.

In addition to all of these links, RLV News has another post on the announcement with several prominent links I haven't included above.