As a kid growing up, I was interested in many things, but was especially fascinated by the U.S. space program that went from several early failed attempts to the ultimate triumph of landing men on the moon in 1969 with Apollo 11. Humans went back a few more times during the next few years, but the past 40 or so years has been Moon and planetary exploration by satellites, robots, and rovers. The discoveries made during these explorations have been amazing, but largely cost prohibitive. That is, until now.
Last week at SolidWorks World 2015 we saw and heard an excellent presentation given during Day 2’s General Session by John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic Technology.
The focus of his company and presentation was launching, landing, and deploying payloads on the Moon at an affordable cost.
Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, Astrobotic Technology Inc. is a space logistics company that is positioning itself to deliver payloads to the Moon for companies, governments, universities, non-profits and individuals. Astrobotic’s spacecraft accommodates multiple customers on a single flight, offering flexibility at a relatively low price (~$500 K/lb or $1.2 M/kg) to the lunar surface. Astrobotic is also accepting small mementos for inclusion on its first mission to the Moon – MoonMail, will send personal keepsakes to a lunar destination for between $460 and $1,660 per package.
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, although the company will not commit to a specific date.
Go to the 1:20 mark to check out the stage presentation of John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotics at SolidWorks World 2015.
Day 2: SOLIDWORKS World 2015 General Session Highlights