Author Topic: Moon Express MX-1  (Read 39925 times)

Online QuantumG

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Moon Express MX-1
« on: 12/05/2013 10:40 PM »
About the size of a large coffee table, the MX-1 is a completely self-contained single stage spacecraft that can reach the surface of the Moon from a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) commonly used to place communications satellites above the Earth. It is also designed to be a flexible spacecraft platform that can support a number of applications including serving as a flexible, agile upper stage for existing launch systems enabling Earth orbit cubesat deployment, satellite servicing, and "space tug" applications such as cleaning up space debris.

Full press release: http://moonexpress.com/#news
Mirror: http://spaceref.biz/2013/12/moon-express-unveils-breakthrough-mx-1-commercial-lunar-lander.html

--

It uses HTP/RP-1 and is being built by Tim Pickens in Huntsville, Alabama.


« Last Edit: 12/05/2013 10:41 PM by QuantumG »
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? The slowest possible.

Online QuantumG

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Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #1 on: 12/05/2013 10:43 PM »
Another pretty rendering.

I'd love to see some real hardware.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? The slowest possible.

Offline Warren Platts

Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #2 on: 12/06/2013 01:53 AM »
The real question is how much payload can it deliver?
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Online savuporo

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Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #3 on: 12/06/2013 03:06 AM »
Okay .. an iPhone of space ? Seriously ?

We already have a GLXP update thread, too
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Online QuantumG

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Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #4 on: 12/06/2013 03:07 AM »
Okay .. an iPhone of space ? Seriously ?

We already have a GLXP update thread, too

It's not just for GLXP.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? The slowest possible.

Offline sdsds

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Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #5 on: 12/06/2013 03:09 AM »
I'd love to see some real hardware.

How about some real mock-up hardware?
NBC News has a photo of Bob Richards on stage with some:
http://www.nbcnews.com/science/moon-express-unveils-its-commercial-lunar-lander-design-2D11702824
-- sdsds --

Online QuantumG

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Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #6 on: 12/06/2013 03:13 AM »
The real question is how much payload can it deliver?

Not much.

The lander will be capable of delivering 132 pounds (60 kilograms) of payload to the lunar surface.

From sdsds's link.


Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? The slowest possible.

Offline mr. mark

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Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #7 on: 12/06/2013 02:48 PM »
I've been looking at the design. They seem to be using the fuel tanks as part of the structural support. I've heard during landing that the tanks could absorb part of the shock. What's to prevent a rupture and fuel contamination at the landing site.

Offline simonbp

Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #8 on: 12/06/2013 03:33 PM »
The real question is how much payload can it deliver?

Not much.

The lander will be capable of delivering 132 pounds (60 kilograms) of payload to the lunar surface.

From sdsds's link.

For a GTO rideshare, that's pretty good.

I've been looking at the design. They seem to be using the fuel tanks as part of the structural support. I've heard during landing that the tanks could absorb part of the shock. What's to prevent a rupture and fuel contamination at the landing site.

The fact that there isn't any fuel left? And it's in a vacuum, so any volatiles (like kerosene and H2O2) will vaporize  and dissipate?
« Last Edit: 12/06/2013 03:35 PM by simonbp »

Offline oiorionsbelt

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Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #9 on: 12/06/2013 07:49 PM »
From sdsds's link
"We really have tried to create a multifaceted, flexible and scalable spacecraft that can be utilized by other people...."
 How big could this realistically be scaled?

Offline jongoff

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Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #10 on: 12/07/2013 12:25 AM »
The real question is how much payload can it deliver?

Not much.

The lander will be capable of delivering 132 pounds (60 kilograms) of payload to the lunar surface.

From sdsds's link.

For a GTO rideshare, that's pretty good.

I've been looking at the design. They seem to be using the fuel tanks as part of the structural support. I've heard during landing that the tanks could absorb part of the shock. What's to prevent a rupture and fuel contamination at the landing site.

The fact that there isn't any fuel left? And it's in a vacuum, so any volatiles (like kerosene and H2O2) will vaporize  and dissipate?

It's also something you can test pretty thoroughly on the ground I would think.

~Jon

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #11 on: 12/07/2013 03:14 AM »

Offline dkovacic

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Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #12 on: 12/09/2013 04:56 PM »
For me, MX-1 is one of the most exciting developments recently (I would dare to say, comparable to F9R):

1. They designed a lander that can easily be put as a secondary payload on most GTO flights - which means there is a potential "launch window" once per month.

2. They use my favorite propulsion combination - HTP/RP-1:) This is high performance, high density, almost hypergolic, no-boiloff, easy to keep in the liquid state, long-term storable combination.

3. Since the lander is secondary payload, launch costs per flight should be in the ballpark od 20 million USD

4. Lander can be used as a general in-space propulsion engine. Besides main propulsion, it will probably have its own RCS, solar panels, GNC and communications. Customers just need to add their payload (instruments) onboard.

5. Combination of low launch costs AND frequent launches AND other deep-space missions (that dont involve landing on the moon itself) means that they could "mass-produce" the lander (for example, to be used as EDS for small payloads) in series larger than 10 per year.

Now, some obvious questions:

1. They did not publish pricing, but since they are in GLXP competition, that should not be too excessive. I would estimate it in 10-20 million. With larger production series, I would expect lower prices.

2. We know that they use HTP, but not the concentration (I would assume 85%, since it allows usage of silver catalysts).

3. In the news I read that HTP is used as the main fuel, and that RP-1 is used as an "afterburner". To me is seems like a typical H2O2/HC combustion cycle, where H2O2 is first decomposed using a catalyst, and then hot O2 gas reacts with hydrocarbon of choice (RP-1 in this case). Is this correct?

4. Now, delta-v. From GTO to the Moon we need 3.2km/s dV (based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta-v_budget).

5. What ISP are we talking about? Since they published total mass of 600kg, fuel/oxidizer mass 450kg, payload mass of 60kg that gives ISP around 280s. That is feasible with pressure-fed design with just a few bars of pressure and rather small expansion ratio.

This lander could really enable a lot of small scale missions to the moon, unlike anything that was tried before.

Offline Garrett

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Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #13 on: 12/09/2013 05:59 PM »
I'd love to see some real hardware.

How about some real mock-up hardware?
NBC News has a photo of Bob Richards on stage with some:
http://www.nbcnews.com/science/moon-express-unveils-its-commercial-lunar-lander-design-2D11702824
And here's another one of the team in front of the mock-up:
(posted on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Moon_Ex/status/408989189493899264)
- "Nothing shocks me. I'm a scientist." - Indiana Jones

Offline Garrett

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Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #14 on: 12/09/2013 06:02 PM »
I'd love to know if they've gone through a Critical Design Review (or equivalent). Then any new hardware will be flight hardware.
- "Nothing shocks me. I'm a scientist." - Indiana Jones

Online savuporo

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Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #15 on: 12/09/2013 06:48 PM »
Much more interesting would be actually passing the radiation, ESD, vibration and thermal cycling tests - with flight electronics and other components. Good luck
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Offline Garrett

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Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #16 on: 12/09/2013 07:07 PM »
here is their reply to me on Twitter:
Quote
Moon Express Inc @Moon_Ex | 7:44 PM GMT - 9 Dec 13
@ga2re2t Thanks Garrett, we're in the hardware build & test phase of the MX-1, on track for a 2015 launch.
https://twitter.com/Moon_Ex/status/410132856158306305
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Offline dkovacic

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Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #17 on: 12/10/2013 05:50 PM »
Much more interesting would be actually passing the radiation, ESD, vibration and thermal cycling tests - with flight electronics and other components. Good luck
Well, their CEO was involved in Phoenix lander program. And their senior technical staff has pretty relevant experience in that regard. So maybe they deserve a little credit.

Offline simonbp

Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #18 on: 12/12/2013 02:46 PM »
Yeah, their personnel looks fine. My larger concern would be making sure the design actually closes with their advertised payload. The vehicle has to produce a heck of a lot of delta v, and any little weight gain from structures or subsystems could kill them.

Still, I wish them the best of luck, as this would be a really nice capability to have; a bunch of them spread out with seismometers would provide pretty good statistics for the small end of the NEO population, while also giving a much better idea about the Moon's interior structure.

Offline dkovacic

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Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #19 on: 12/17/2013 02:15 PM »
The same concern applies to most deep space missions. They are not designing anything that has not been achieved before. So they have 50 years of experience on which they can build upon. I am admiring how they chose a "sweet-spot" for a lander that really enables, for the first time, a production economy of scale AND high launch frequency. Dragon has the same promise, but requires an order of magnitude more mass and money. So this lander enables moon landing missions with a budget of less than 100 million USD.

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