Team Upgrades Griffin Lander for First Lunar Flight in 2016
PITTSBURGH—The Google Lunar XPRIZE announced today that Team Astrobotic has won two separate Milestone Prize awards, one for imaging subsystems and one for mobility subsystems, after prize judges concluded that the technologies proved to overcome key technical risks.
Astrobotic’s imaging system development for the Milestone Prize fabricated a protoflight imaging subsystem, and tested optics and imaging electronics for flight vibration and vacuum environments. Astrobotic demonstrated that the camera head could operate in thermal vacuum and capture, compress, and transmit high-definition video in lunar-relevant terrain and lighting. This imaging milestone was awarded with a $250,000 prize.
The Carnegie Mellon University developed Andy Rover secured the mobility milestone for demonstrating that Andy could survive the vacuum, high radiation and extreme cold of the Moon. The team also had to show that the robot could complete – and prove it completed – a 500-meter traverse on the lunar surface, one of the conditions for winning the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The team received an additional $500,000 for securing the mobility milestone.
The Astrobotic Team will utilize the $750,000 award to continue the development of both technologies for the first commercialized lunar landing. Astrobotic plans to fly during the second half of 2016, with the target range of the summer of 2016. Along with continuous developments in the areas of mobility and imaging, Astrobotic will modify the propulsion system by utilizing green propellant that permits for more reliable terrestrial testing prior to the first launch.
“The award of these Milestone Prizes is evidence that the partnership between Astrobotic and Carnegie Mellon is powerful and that our technologies are setting the pace for the Google Lunar XPRIZE teams,” said John Thornton, Astrobotic’s CEO. “We feel confident that we can land on the moon in 2016 and show that a private company can set the course for future lunar exploration.
About Astrobotic: Astrobotic is a space logistics company that delivers payloads to the Moon for companies, governments, universities, non-profits and individuals. Our spacecraft accommodates multiple customers on a single flight, offering flexibility at an industry-defining low price. Astrobotic is a NASA contractor, and is also an official partner with NASA on the Lunar CATALYST program. With its partner, Carnegie Mellon University, Astrobotic is pursuing the Google Lunar XPRIZE and is scheduled to launch the first mission in 2016. Astrobotic was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA