Thursday, January 22, 2015

Moon Express strains at its Kennedy tether

Google Lunar X-Prize competitor Moon Express test article MTV-1X takes its maiden tethered flight and new facilities recently opened at Kennedy Space Center's historic Space Launch Complex 36, where the early Atlas ICBM was developed and Surveyor was launched a half century ago. The 80 acre site, procured with the aid of Space Florida, includes a vintage concrete blockhouse the team has christened "Moon Mountain" [CBS News/C|NET].
"Latest in a series of reports by CNET Editor at Large Tim Stevens, traveling the world to track the progress of teams competing for the Google Lunar X-Prize.

"If all goes according to plan.. the Mountain View, California-based Moon Express team's.. lander will make a soft, controlled landing on the moon, look around in high-definition, then lift off again. The lander will touch down a second time at a location at least 500 meters away from the first...

"To see whether Moon Express can pull it off, Stevens traveled to Florida's Kennedy Space Center where Moon Express is testing its MTV-1X -- that is, its "Moon Express Test Vehicle 1 - XPrize Version." Or, more colloquially, the "flying donut," thanks to its toroidal shape. This is effectively a prototype for the final landing vehicle, the MX-1. The MX-1 will be launched into orbit atop a rather large rocket, fly itself across the approximately 240,000 miles to the moon and then orbit there a few times before touching down.

"Moon Mountain." the blockhouse trench and bunker of KSC SLC 36, focus of 80 acre proving ground in site of the iconic VAB at Cape Canaveral [CBS News/C|NET].
Moon Express' unorthodox approach to the prize
- CBS News
Private moon firm to sign deal for test flights at Cape
- WTSP/ Tampa Bay, Sarasota
Moon Express to develop SLC-36 for MX-1 lunar lander
- Spaceflight Insider
Blasting off with Moon Express at KSC

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