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New Google Lunar X PRIZE Team Announced: SYNERGY MOON Becomes #17 March 2, 2009

Posted by Nick Azer in Google Lunar X Prize, Lunar-direct, private sector.
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A new team for the pivotal Google Lunar X PRIZE has been announced!

SYNERGY MOON, an international effort, is now the 17th official team vying for the $30 million in prizes (including the $20 million Grand Prize).

The team is a collaboration of three companies: InterPlanetary Ventures, Interorbital Systems(IOS), and the Human Synergy Project.

(Edit: Language on the team page initially made it sound like they were attempting a lunar-direct mission, and I originally had a section here about that until I then noticed mention of a “lunar lander”–which would be incongruent with lunar-direct in the classic sense as the rocket would be the lander.)

(Edit 2, 3/23: As Interorbital CEO Randa Milliron has clarified today in a comment on this post, the method is in fact the outright lunar-direct method, differing from Apollo. Which is really cool :D See the full comment).

For more details on SYNERGY MOON, check out their official Google Lunar X PRIZE team page, as well as their own official website.

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1. Randa Milliron, CEO, IOS - March 23, 2009

From the technology standpoint, details on the rockets and space hardware that will power the SYNERGY MOON team’s mission can be found at http://www.interorbital.com. Launch provider Interorbital Systems will use what is called a ‘lunar-direct’ launch of a variant of its modular NEPTUNE rocket to carry a lunar lander (the rocket’s fifth stage) and rover to the surface of the Moon before the end of 2012. In a recent Space Fellowship interview, Randa Milliron elaborated on mission’s flight characteristics. “We’ll very likely take off from the South Pacific Ocean near the Kingdom of Tonga. The launch involves a direct ascent from the Earth into a ballistic trajectory, and ends with a direct descent to the Moon’s surface. This is called a First Revolution Elliptical Lunar Transfer Trajectory, with the Moon arriving at the apoapsis at the same time as the lander. After touchdown on the Moon, the lander will deploy the rover. This method differs from the Apollo missions, which used an Earth Parking Orbit and a Lunar Parking Orbit (going into orbit around the Moon before deploying a lander to the surface). We have a weight penalty, but this method reduces the complexity of the mission while increasing its probability of success. In addition, our mobile ocean-launch method allows us to chose and vary the launch point, which gives us flexibility in terms of launch windows.”

2. New Details on SYNERGY MOON and Their Lunar-Direct Google Lunar X PRIZE Effort « Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration - March 25, 2009

[…] additional details and clarification (through an interview with Space Fellowship and a subsequent comment on a post here at Luna C/I covering the announcement) on their private lunar effort, and […]


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