Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Astrobotic, Hakuto team up to ride Falcon 9 to Moon

The combined strategy utilizes the Astrobotic "Griffin" lander (carrying their "Red Rover," in foreground) to deploy a total of three robotic rovers, including the Hakuto "Tetris" and "Moonraker" [Astrobotic/CM].
Angela Moscaritolo

Two rivals battling it out in Google's $30 million competition to land a private spacecraft on the moon are teaming up for a joint trip to the lunar surface.

Hakuto, the only Japanese team competing in Google's Lunar XPrize competition, and Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic on Monday announced they are partnering for a moon journey during the second half of 2016.

Hakuto rover Moonraker (and back-up) undergoing hazard and slope avoidance testing in 2014 [Tim Stevens/C|NET].
The plan is that Hakuto's twin rovers — dubbed "Moonraker" and "Tetris" — will "piggyback" on Astrobotic's so-called "Griffin" lander to reach the moon.

Hatuto sub-rover Tetris [Tim Stevens/C|NET].
Astrobotic will launch the mission next year on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla. After touching down, Hakuto's rovers will be simultaneously released alongside Astrobotic's "Andy" rover, developed by Carnegie Mellon University.

Read the full story HERE.

Additional story at Pittsburgh Business Times, HERE.

Astrobotic Technology Red Rover design concept, picked by Popular Science as one of 100 Best Innovations of 2011.

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