Author Topic: Moon Race competition initiative led by Airbus  (Read 1114 times)

Offline bulkmail

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Moon Race competition initiative led by Airbus
« on: 10/02/2018 09:42 AM »
Quote
themoonrace.org:
The Moon Race competition is a global initiative founded by Airbus and international partners, aiming to boost the movement around Moon exploration and enable the demonstration of key technologies required for its sustainable exploration.
...
2019 - Propose - team up and apply
2020 - Prototype - demonstrate Proof-of-Concept
2021 - Develop - test in lunar environment - monetary award
2023 - Build - prepare for potential launch - monetary award + potential moon ride
2024 - Fly to the Moon! - monetary award
...
SPACE AGENCIES AND INDUSTRY ARE ALREADY SUPPORTING.
- Agencia Espacial Mexicana
- Airbus
- Blue Origin
- ESA
- Vinci Construction

So, initiative similar to NASA's "Commercial Lunar Payload Services"?

Participants:
- Airbus is leading
- ESA is in (and ESA-Airbus are deeply linked via Ariane, although neither Arianespace nor Arianegroup are mentioned explicitly)
- Vinci construction is a big french company, apparently with interest in developments on the Moon?
- Mexican space agency as partner (more details here?)
- Blue Origin's stated goal is industrialization of cis-lunar space, so they seem like a good fit.

What I find strange is that both Airbus/ESA (=Ariane?) and Blue are in. E.g. two launch providers.... Partners and competitors at the same time? Or Ariane is not participating and Airbus' involvement originates from some different department/subsidiary?

Offline jstrout

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Re: Moon Race competition initiative led by Airbus
« Reply #1 on: 10/02/2018 02:22 PM »
My take on it is that Airbus and Blue Origin won't be competing... they'll be providing the prizes, including launch services to the Moon.

If you look at the contest categories, none of them are really things that these guys have shown any interest in doing themselves (power production, ISRU, etc.).  But they (especially BO) want to get people doing these things, to kickstart a lunar economy and build demand for their transport services.

So, unlike the Google Lunar X-Prize, where getting to the Moon was the entire battle... this contest is saying, don't worry about that.  We'll take care of it.  Now, assuming you can get to the Moon, what useful demo/development can you do there?

Pretty exciting stuff, IMHO.

Offline Markstark

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Re: Moon Race competition initiative led by Airbus
« Reply #2 on: 10/02/2018 02:26 PM »
My take on it is that Airbus and Blue Origin won't be competing... they'll be providing the prizes, including launch services to the Moon.

If you look at the contest categories, none of them are really things that these guys have shown any interest in doing themselves (power production, ISRU, etc.).  But they (especially BO) want to get people doing these things, to kickstart a lunar economy and build demand for their transport services.

So, unlike the Google Lunar X-Prize, where getting to the Moon was the entire battle... this contest is saying, don't worry about that.  We'll take care of it.  Now, assuming you can get to the Moon, what useful demo/development can you do there?

Pretty exciting stuff, IMHO.
Well put! Thatís my interpretation as well after reading their website a bit. They definitely couldíve rolled it out better but itís a cool project nonetheless.

Offline jstrout

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Re: Moon Race competition initiative led by Airbus
« Reply #3 on: 10/02/2018 02:38 PM »
The most unclear part of it, to me, is step 3, "2021 - Develop - test in lunar environment".  This is before any launch services are provided.  So I assume they mean, test in a simulated lunar environment.  A big vacuum chamber, with regolith simulant and 4-week lighting cycle?  Making such a simulator sounds like a pretty big project in itself to me.
« Last Edit: 10/02/2018 02:38 PM by jstrout »

Offline Phil Stooke

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Re: Moon Race competition initiative led by Airbus
« Reply #4 on: 10/02/2018 06:22 PM »
Before the final launch is available, but maybe an inexpensive rideshare? 

Offline Lar

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Re: Moon Race competition initiative led by Airbus
« Reply #5 on: 10/02/2018 07:04 PM »
The most unclear part of it, to me, is step 3, "2021 - Develop - test in lunar environment".  This is before any launch services are provided.  So I assume they mean, test in a simulated lunar environment.  A big vacuum chamber, with regolith simulant and 4-week lighting cycle?  Making such a simulator sounds like a pretty big project in itself to me.

I agree a fairly high fidelity chamber is a singificant investment. But once made I bet there will be a queue for time in it.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Moon Race competition initiative led by Airbus
« Reply #6 on: 10/02/2018 09:39 PM »
The most unclear part of it, to me, is step 3, "2021 - Develop - test in lunar environment".  This is before any launch services are provided.  So I assume they mean, test in a simulated lunar environment.  A big vacuum chamber, with regolith simulant and 4-week lighting cycle?  Making such a simulator sounds like a pretty big project in itself to me.

I agree a fairly high fidelity chamber is a singificant investment. But once made I bet there will be a queue for time in it.
ESA may have one.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Moon Race competition initiative led by Airbus
« Reply #7 on: 10/02/2018 09:40 PM »
They've learnt few things from Lunar Xprize. Milestone prizes which are essential for a lot of these small groups to keep going.

Offline Lar

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Re: Moon Race competition initiative led by Airbus
« Reply #8 on: 10/02/2018 09:54 PM »
They've learnt few things from Lunar Xprize. Milestone prizes which are essential for a lot of these small groups to keep going.
Nod.

Paying milestone prizes increases the total cost of the contest (unless you reduce the grand prize, which may reduce the number of entrants, though...) but the probability of success goes up far more than the proportional increase. I think.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline meberbs

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Re: Moon Race competition initiative led by Airbus
« Reply #9 on: 10/02/2018 10:05 PM »
The most unclear part of it, to me, is step 3, "2021 - Develop - test in lunar environment".  This is before any launch services are provided.  So I assume they mean, test in a simulated lunar environment.  A big vacuum chamber, with regolith simulant and 4-week lighting cycle?  Making such a simulator sounds like a pretty big project in itself to me.

I agree a fairly high fidelity chamber is a singificant investment. But once made I bet there will be a queue for time in it.
There are plenty of thermal vacuum chambers in existence that test spacecraft. Adjusting environments to be similar to lunar conditions isn't that much work depending on what is relevant.

This sounds like the equivalent of a NASA TRL 6 "demonstration in a relevant environment (ground or space)"

Definition on relevant environment depends on what you are doing. For some things (like a large antenna) maybe only vibrations from launch are relevant, since thermal vacuum (TVac) wouldn't really prove anything. For other systems, testing in vacuum at temperature may be important, some may require regolith simulation and some may not. Few systems would need to put the regolith in a vacuum chamber for a satisfactory test, but this doesn't seem insurmountable if required.

For example, although LEO satellites are thermal cycled in a 90 minute cycle on orbit, this is not directly simulated in most TVac testing. Chamber will be run to a "max hot" condition, held there for an arbitrary amount of time to do any relevant tests, ramped to cold (possibly at a specific rate, possibly just limited by chamber design) Then testing repeated at cold for an arbitrary amount of time. (Possibly there are multiple cycles done, or other things added.) Accurately simulating the on orbit pattern over time is not seen as necessary to prove anything, just proving operation at the corner case temperatures.

Offline Chasm

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Re: Moon Race competition initiative led by Airbus
« Reply #10 on: 10/03/2018 04:35 AM »
Think the lunar testing covers launch vibrations (easy enough) but more importantly the thermal environment on the Moon. (vaccum + solar)
With that chances that the projects make it to the Moon and then works for a while are greatly improved.
The categories are an interesting mix: manufacturing energy resources biology. Not just a repeat of the Lunar X-Price.

Looking at the launch logo its an Ariane 5.

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