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Golden Spike Co. (Updates) [commercial lunar missions]

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DocM    12,777

Opening presser of the commercial lunar flight company.

Formed by an international group of heavy hitters, former Apollo & Shuttle managers, and major finanicial backers. They aim to establish an infrastructure including fuel depots in lunar and Earth orbit, reusable landers etc. that would facilitate routine missions to the lunar surface and, eventually, a lunar base.

National Press Club

Washington DC

December 6, 2012 2:00 PM

News conference

Location: Bloomberg Room



Bobby Block


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DocM    12,777



Thursday, December 6, 2012

WHO: Golden Spike Company

WHAT: The Golden Spike Company (GSC), a U.S.-based commercial space company led by former NASA Executives, invites you to attend a game-changing announcement about the future of commercial human space travel to the Moon. President and CEO Dr. Alan Stern and Chairman of the Board Gerry Griffin will unveil GSC ? the first company planning to offer routine exploration expeditions to the surface of the Moon by the end of the decade. The company will provide regular and reliable expeditions at prices that are a fraction of any lunar program ever conceived until now. There will be a media conference, which will be followed by a question and answer period.

WHEN: 2:00 p.m. ? 3:00 p.m. (EST)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

WHERE: The National Press Club

Bloomberg Room

529 14th Street, NW, 13th Floor

Washington, DC, 20045

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DocM    12,777

Lunar Lander System Team:

? Armadillo Aerospace (lander tech)

? International Lunar Observatory Association

? Masten Space Systems (lander tech)

? Moon Express (mission planning)

? Paragon Space Development Corp. (life support)

? Southwest Research Institute (SwRI)

? Space Florida (launch planning)

? United Launch Alliance (Boeing + Lockheed Martin)

? Zero Point Frontiers Corp. (engineering/integration?)

One leaked lander design looks a bit like a Bell 22 helicopter.


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DocM    12,777

NASA was given a briefing 2 weeks ago.

GSC is now talking to ~20 nations who are interested (Asia & Europe included).

Launchers: SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1, Falcon Heavy and ULA Atlas V-552.

Command Service Module: SpaceX's Dragon (baseline), Boeing CST-100.

TLI (trans-lunar insertion) of the CSM is by a ULA Centaur upper stage.

CSM will have another propulsion stage for TEI (trans-Earth insertion - return trip).

A huge range of lander options.

Lander would be launched into lunar orbit first, then the CSM and other stages would assemble in Earth orbit and start on their way. CSM will rendezvous with the lander, crew takes lander to the surface, then returns after the mission.

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DocM    12,777

Northrop Grumman built the Apollo LEM.

NASA's own preliminary lunar sortie plans include a lander that could be launched using either the Space Launch System (SLS) or the SpaceX Falcon Heavy.


BOULDER, CO. (January 3, 2013) ? The Golden Spike Company announced today that it has entered into a contract with Northrop Grumman Corporation for the design of a new lunar lander that fits within Golden Spike?s ?head start? commercial lunar architecture.

Northrop Grumman?s participation brings heritage lunar engineering expertise to Golden Spike. Northrop Grumman is a major aerospace and defense contractor. Its legacy companies -- Grumman and TRW -- designed and built the Lunar Module and Lunar Module Descent Engines for the Apollo moon landing missions that between 1969 and 1972 ferried a crew of two astronauts from lunar orbit to the lunar surface and back again six times.

Golden Spike debuted last month as the first commercial aerospace company planning to offer routine exploration expeditions to the surface of the Moon by the end of the decade. The company aims to use existing rockets and emerging commercial-crew spacecraft to allow nations, individuals and corporations to mount their own lunar expeditions. The lander is the only significant hardware that needs to be designed from the ground up.

"This is a significant step forward in our plans,? said Golden Spike?s Board Chairman, Gerry Griffin. ?Northrop Grumman brings Golden Spike a unique body of knowledge and skills as the only company to ever build a successful human-rated lunar lander, the Apollo Lunar Module.?

Dr. S. Alan Stern, Golden Spike?s President and CEO, added: ?We?re very proud to be working with Northrop Grumman, which has the most experience and successful performance record for human lunar lander designs in the world.?

Among the tasks Northrop Grumman will perform for Golden Spike are:

? Reviewing requirements and synthesizing a set of study ground rules and assumptions emphasizing system reliability, automated/ground command operability, and affordability

? Establishing velocity (?v) budgets from and to low lunar orbit for pragmatic lunar landing sites

? Exploring a wide variety of Lunar Lander concept options, including staging, propellants, engines, reusability, autonomy, systems capabilities for exploration, as well as landing site flexibility

? Establishing the design trade space and establish pragmatic limits for future more detailed analysis and development

?This study is one of a number of initial studies we?re undertaking to begin creating the design requirements and specs for the lander contract competition we expect to hold to select a Golden Spike lander for flight development,? said Golden Spike?s Lunar Lander Systems Study (LLaSS) engineering chief, James R. French.

Golden Spike predicts its customers will want to explore the Moon for varying reasons?scientific exploration and discovery, national prestige, commercial development, marketing, entertainment, and even personal achievement. Market studies by the company show the possibility of 15-25 or more expeditions in the decade following a first landing.

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DocM    12,777

Interesting that the Northrop Grumman lander concept uses the 5.2m fairing used for Falcon 9 v1.1 / Falcon Heavy. Combine this with a Dragon 2 and a Trunk derived EDS / SM and you have a commercial Apollo mission.


This figure shows a preliminary sketch of the minimalist ascent pod with surface habitat concept packaged in a five-meter diameter payload fairing. The pressurized compartments and propellant tanks easily fit in the available space. Ascent thrusters are mounted on outriggers that are folded up to fit in the payload fairing and the landing gear is folded inward. Also shown are initial side and top views of the ascent pod "Pumpkin" and the surface habitat with crew members in pressure suits. (Northrop Grumman image)

Northrop Grumman Completes Lunar Lander Study for Golden Spike

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has completed a feasibility study for a new commercial lunar lander for the Golden Spike Company (GSC). The study confirmed the viability of lander concepts for Golden Spike's human lunar expedition architecture and conceived a novel new, low-mass ascent stage concept dubbed "Pumpkin."

About Golden Spike

The Golden Spike Company (GSC) is a US-based commercial space company incorporated in 2010 with the objective of providing human expeditions to the Moon. It is named after the ceremonial final spike that joined the rails of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States, on May 10, 1869, and opened up the frontier to new opportunities. Golden Spike wants to sell trips to the moon to countries with less developed space capabilities but who want to take their space program to the next level.


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