Thursday, May 31, 2012

GLXP team Moon Express acquires Next Giant Leap

Artist concept of Moon Express GLXP lander ME-1.
Alan Boyle
Cosmic Log

One of the competitors in the race to send the first private-sector probe to the moon says it's acquired the assets of a rival team, marking what could be considered a "Netscape moment" for the commercial moonshot industry.

Moon Express said the acquisition of Colorado-based Next Giant Leap will add to its momentum in the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize competition, which promises a huge payoff to the first team that sends a rover to the moon for an exploratory trek that includes transmitting high-definition imagery back to Earth. Moon Express and Next Giant Leap are among 26 teams vying for the prize.

"There are many synergies between our companies," Bob Richards, Moon Express' co-founder and CEO, said in today's announcement, which was issued during a Google Lunar X Prize team summit in Washington. "We are all stronger together, and we look forward to carrying on the innovation and vision of the Next Giant Leap founders and partners."

Both ventures were selected by NASA in 2010 for data-sharing contracts that are worth up to $10 million each. Both companies have been working on rovers that would hop across the lunar surface. The Next Giant Leap effort produced a "hopper" design that attracted a $1 million commitment from the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory to fund the development of a guidance, navigation and control system testbed.

Read the full article, HERE.

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