Author Topic: Moon Express MX-1  (Read 50251 times)

Online savuporo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5172
  • Liked: 973
  • Likes Given: 344
Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #20 on: 12/17/2013 04:35 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.

I said - good luck, and i never questioned anyones credentials on the team. If they actually get into a flight hardware config, i'll be really impressed. Considering that they are camping at Moffett field here and have a close support of Ames, i think its likely they will get there eventually.
But as always, it will take more time and money than anyone in the team thinks.

Your "less than $100 million" is a nice goalpost but also completely unsubstantiated, i think.

My issue with them is their press releases - the hyperbole and self promotion is at obnoxious levels.

A tweet :
"Mini-trailer to our "Behind the Scenes" MX-1 unveiling video under production: <link snipped> " - with a million attached hashtags.
Really ? A mini-trailer to the trailer of unveiling of an engineering mockup ?

« Last Edit: 12/17/2013 04:35 PM by savuporo »
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline QuantumG

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8187
  • Australia
  • Liked: 2954
  • Likes Given: 710
Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #21 on: 12/17/2013 05:33 PM »
A tweet :
"Mini-trailer to our "Behind the Scenes" MX-1 unveiling video under production: <link snipped> " - with a million attached hashtags.
Really ? A mini-trailer to the trailer of unveiling of an engineering mockup ?

Yep, which is great because they actually bothered to interview all the incredible people that they invited to the unveiling.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Warren Platts

Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #22 on: 12/17/2013 08:57 PM »
Do you all think the lander could be scaled up to land the RPM rover in a polar location?
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Online savuporo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5172
  • Liked: 973
  • Likes Given: 344
Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #23 on: 12/17/2013 09:38 PM »
Spudis talks about a bigger version here specifically for RESOLVE

http://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/leag2013/presentations/spudis_moonexpress.pdf

But its a LOT bigger.

EDIT: Note in this presentation
http://www.kiss.caltech.edu/workshops/lunar-ice2013/presentations/alkalai.pdf

Page 17 is a summary of "NASA Lunar landers under development". RPM would more likely be on one of these.

( As a side note, Lunette is a particularly bad name for a mission concept )
« Last Edit: 12/17/2013 09:46 PM by savuporo »
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #24 on: 12/18/2013 04:13 AM »
Not very clear but seems like the MX-1 is capable of a few short flight/hops which would allow it to sample a few areas. Would be ideal for verifying if any the polar craters contain water.

Offline dkovacic

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 191
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 25
Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #25 on: 12/18/2013 10:26 AM »
Not very clear but seems like the MX-1 is capable of a few short flight/hops which would allow it to sample a few areas. Would be ideal for verifying if any the polar craters contain water.
Not likely. They claim that empty tanks would be used as shock absorbers instead of legs. So it very likely that the engine and the tanks will be damaged during the actual landing.

Offline dkovacic

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 191
  • Liked: 38
  • Likes Given: 25
Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #26 on: 12/18/2013 11:56 AM »
I said - good luck, and i never questioned anyones credentials on the team. If they actually get into a flight hardware config, i'll be really impressed. Considering that they are camping at Moffett field here and have a close support of Ames, i think its likely they will get there eventually.
But as always, it will take more time and money than anyone in the team thinks.

Your "less than $100 million" is a nice goalpost but also completely unsubstantiated, i think.
This was my ballpark estimate. But the presentation that you included in the follow-up post puts minimum sized mission to $75 million (launch included). Larger payloads with dedicated LV are sized up to $175 mil.
Compare this to LRO (505 mil), LCROSS (79mil), LADEE (263), GRAIL (496). Or even better, compare it to the lander missions: Curiosity (2.3 billion), Spirit/Opportunity (820) or most appropriate - Pathfinder (280 mil). Note that these costs also do not include the launch vehicle. Of course, these missions have widely different requirements and capabilities, but still we are talking about order of magnitude change.

MX-1 enables missions closest to Pathfinder/Sojourner, but on the Moon. Note that the rover development itself cost around 10 million. Everything else: lander, communication orbiter, mission control, deep space network etc added up.


My issue with them is their press releases - the hyperbole and self promotion is at obnoxious levels.

A tweet :
"Mini-trailer to our "Behind the Scenes" MX-1 unveiling video under production: <link snipped> " - with a million attached hashtags.
Really ? A mini-trailer to the trailer of unveiling of an engineering mockup ?
The same logic you can apply to SpaceX or Virgin Galactic or Planetary Resources. They are start-ups that need to fight for their business with as much publicity and marketing as they can. Of course they make big and sometimes unsubstantiated claims. Unfortunately, that often goes hand to hand with a disruption of established business players.
« Last Edit: 01/04/2014 07:57 PM by dkovacic »

Online savuporo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5172
  • Liked: 973
  • Likes Given: 344
Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #27 on: 12/14/2014 04:32 PM »
A test article went through hot fire tests at Kennedy a short while ago. Kudos to the team.
Best pictures here : http://www.scoopnest.com/user/Bob_Richards/541726095431958530

Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Online obi-wan

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 261
  • Liked: 579
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #28 on: 12/14/2014 07:05 PM »
They're not too forthcoming with numbers, but some BOE calculations show that if they can bring their inert mass in at 40 kg, they could achieve a gross mass of 300 kg, which would let them fly on a proposed growth version of an ESPA ring. (The current ESPA payload limit is 180 kg, way too small for a 60 kg landed lunar payload.)

Having been down the secondary payload road myself a few times, the real problem is getting a ride. You have to find a primary payload which is willing to accept you on their flight. This typically means they want a vanishly small chance that you could do anything to screw up their delivery mission. This generally means no pressurized gases, no chemical energy (i.e., propellants), and if you're lucky only three interlocks to prevent you from powering up before the primary payload is long gone. (Some rides demand you launch with depleted batteries and recharge passively post-separation.) Your typical GTO primary is a communications satellite company with ~$200M+ in the bird and looking at ~50M+/month from transponder revenues - they are not likely to say,"Sure!" when you ask to put 200 kg of rocket propellants (liquids, with unmodeled slosh modes for the LV coupled loads analyses) Onboard and tag along. You're adding a significant increase in the chance of losing their bird, and they're not going to accept that. Moon Express' best chance is to find another similar (almost certainly NASA-funded) payload heading to the moon and tag along, like LCROSS. (Although, for Discovery-class missions led by the PI, I have trouble imagining any of them would accept this as a secondary, either...)

Online savuporo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5172
  • Liked: 973
  • Likes Given: 344
Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #29 on: 12/14/2014 07:25 PM »
Having been down the secondary payload road myself a few times, the real problem is getting a ride. You have to find a primary payload which is willing to accept you on their flight...
First, there are secondary payload restrictions and requirements, but actually finding a GTO bound launch with the correct timing and trajectory to get to TLI is a difficult excercise in itself. I just recently read this, which looks at this in perspective of Ariane 5 GTO launches mostly:

https://upcommons.upc.edu/pfc/bitstream/2099.1/9666/1/memoria.pdf
Quote
Manoeuvres before lunar injection greatly depend on the Keplerian elements of the
initial orbit.
The launching inclination should ideally be within the moon inclination interval. If it is
the case, a transfer is almost manoeuvre-free, or has a small mid-course manoeuvre,
if the spacecraft is launched with optimal conditions of:
argument of perigee and right ascension of ascending node, for GTO transfers
right ascension of ascending node only for LEO transfers
Some rare GTO Ariane 5 launches provides such conditions.
None-optimal conditions would require expensive manoeuvring which may double
the trajectory total Δv cost.
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline MP99

Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #30 on: 12/14/2014 08:19 PM »
They're not too forthcoming with numbers, but some BOE calculations show that if they can bring their inert mass in at 40 kg, they could achieve a gross mass of 300 kg, which would let them fly on a proposed growth version of an ESPA ring. (The current ESPA payload limit is 180 kg, way too small for a 60 kg landed lunar payload.)

Having been down the secondary payload road myself a few times, the real problem is getting a ride. You have to find a primary payload which is willing to accept you on their flight. This typically means they want a vanishly small chance that you could do anything to screw up their delivery mission. This generally means no pressurized gases, no chemical energy (i.e., propellants), and if you're lucky only three interlocks to prevent you from powering up before the primary payload is long gone. (Some rides demand you launch with depleted batteries and recharge passively post-separation.) Your typical GTO primary is a communications satellite company with ~$200M+ in the bird and looking at ~50M+/month from transponder revenues - they are not likely to say,"Sure!" when you ask to put 200 kg of rocket propellants (liquids, with unmodeled slosh modes for the LV coupled loads analyses) Onboard and tag along. You're adding a significant increase in the chance of losing their bird, and they're not going to accept that. Moon Express' best chance is to find another similar (almost certainly NASA-funded) payload heading to the moon and tag along, like LCROSS. (Although, for Discovery-class missions led by the PI, I have trouble imagining any of them would accept this as a secondary, either...)

Could this be the first re-flight of a recovered F9S1, plus the stage recovered a second time?

Would need SpaceX to expend an upper stage, but they get flight experience on a recovered S1, and get it back a second time.

cheers, Martin

Offline AnalogMan

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2940
  • Cambridge, UK
  • Liked: 655
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #31 on: 01/30/2015 12:05 AM »
Moon Express Completes Initial Flight Tests at NASA's Kennedy Space Center
January 27, 2015

During November and December 2014, Moon Express successfully conducted its lander test vehicle hot fires and initial flight tests at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, with the support of NASA's Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (CATALYST) initiative.

Through an increasingly complex series of tests following vehicle integration, the Moon Express "MTV-1X" proved out its fundamental guidance, navigation and control systems and achieved controlled flight profiles. A highlights video was published by Moon Express following the flight tests.

The Moon Express team shared facilities and coordinated range operations with the NASA Morpheus lander test vehicle, which also had a successful flight test series.

"NASA has been a remarkably helpful and proactive partner to help us achieve our goals," said Moon Express co-founder and CEO, Bob Richards. "The Lunar CATALYST team supporting our partnership is outstanding and our direct Space Act Agreement relationships with Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and Kennedy are providing us access to additional key support and resources to help get us to the moon."

Moon Express is one of NASA's three private sector partners competitively selected to spur commercial cargo transportation capabilities to the surface of the moon.

"We congratulate Moon Express on the successful flight tests of their innovative lunar lander test vehicle," said Jason Adam, NASA's Moon Express partner manager under Lunar CATALYST. "Moon Express is the first private company to build and operate a lander test vehicle at the Kennedy Space Center, and we look forward to working with them as they develop new U.S. capabilities to land on the moon."

For more information about Lunar CATALYST, visit http://www.nasa.gov/lunarcatalyst.

For more information about Moon Express, visit http://www.moonexpress.com

http://www.nasa.gov/content/moon-express-completes-initial-flight-tests-at-nasas-kennedy-space-center/

Photo Captions:

Upper - Moon Express' MTV-1X test vehicle performed a tethered flight test at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  Image Credit: Moon Express Inc.

Lower - A thermal infrared image of Moon Express' MTV-1X test vehicle undergoing a hotfire engine test at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Image Credit: NASA/Lunar CATALYST Initiative

Offline AnalogMan

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2940
  • Cambridge, UK
  • Liked: 655
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #32 on: 02/05/2015 02:23 PM »
There's a two page article on Moon Express and their test vehicle in the latest issue of KSC's SpacePort Magazine starting at page 34.

http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/feb2015.pdf

(Extracted article pages also attached)

Offline grakenverb

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 430
  • New York
  • Liked: 27
  • Likes Given: 25
Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #33 on: 03/10/2015 02:40 PM »

Offline Moe Grills

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 780
  • Liked: 25
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #34 on: 03/11/2015 03:06 PM »
Article on Yahoo! Finance about Moon Express:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/billionaire-teams-nasa-mine-moon-140000975.html

Thanks for the link. A billionaire in the mix? He's either the sponsor/bankroller, CEO or both.
That's a good sign. The fact that they tested some actual large-scale hardware is another good sign.
NASA's role? Unknown, but welcome.
The big problem is? What booster, and booster service, are they attempting to use? That may be the showstopper, like it has for so many such enterprises over the years/decades.
« Last Edit: 03/11/2015 03:07 PM by Moe Grills »

Offline Sam Ho

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 497
  • Liked: 182
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #35 on: 03/11/2015 06:13 PM »
Article on Yahoo! Finance about Moon Express:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/billionaire-teams-nasa-mine-moon-140000975.html

Thanks for the link. A billionaire in the mix? He's either the sponsor/bankroller, CEO or both.
That's a good sign. The fact that they tested some actual large-scale hardware is another good sign.
NASA's role? Unknown, but welcome.
The big problem is? What booster, and booster service, are they attempting to use? That may be the showstopper, like it has for so many such enterprises over the years/decades.

The billionaire is Naveen Jain, who started Infospace and Intelius.  There's more about him in a previous CNBC story.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101531789

NASA involvement is via unfunded Space Act agreements.

http://www.nasa.gov/lunarcatalyst

Launch vehicle is GTO rideshare, as discussed up-thread.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #36 on: 09/12/2015 09:09 PM »
Presentation from Bob Richards CEO.
There is a good slide at 5 minutes showing the MX1 lander on top of MX2 lander. The MX2 will deliver MX1 to surface, the MX1 will be used to deliver the "sample return" to orbit. This combination of vehicles is called MX3.
MoonExpress reckons these samples could be worth $1B (private collectors?).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_HlJZAA5V0&feature=youtu.be

Offline Steven Pietrobon

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12969
  • Adelaide, Australia
    • Steven Pietrobon's Space Archive
  • Liked: 2833
  • Likes Given: 430
Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #37 on: 09/13/2015 04:57 AM »
Launch is now scheduled for 2017, although they still have not announced which launch vehicle they will be using.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #38 on: 09/13/2015 09:15 AM »
Launch is now scheduled for 2017, although they still have not announced which launch vehicle they will be using.

The MX1 has DV of 3.2Km/s with 60kg payload, was designed to fly as secondary payload (600kg) on a GTO mission. Expect launch cost $6-8M.



 

Offline Steven Pietrobon

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12969
  • Adelaide, Australia
    • Steven Pietrobon's Space Archive
  • Liked: 2833
  • Likes Given: 430
Re: Moon Express MX-1
« Reply #39 on: 09/14/2015 08:02 AM »
In reading

http://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/leag2013/presentations/spudis_moonexpress.pdf

they showed prices for the MX-1 assuming launch on a Falcon 9. I guess that's the most logical option, although time will tell if any primary payload will let them rideshare.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Tags: