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Lunar Lander

NASA is seeking commercial partners to develop robotic lunar landers (Image: NASA)

With China successfully landing a robotic rover on the Moon, there’s been speculation in some circles as to whether or not a new space race between China and the United States will start soon. That’s as maybe, but if Space Race Mk II does happen, the American landing craft might be owned and operated by a private firm. Lending strength to this argument is NASA's recent announcement of its Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (Lunar CATALYST) initiative, which aims at kickstarting private development of commercial lunar transports through partnerships with the space agency.  Read More

Artist's conception of YuTu lunar rover deployment from China's Chang'e-3 lunar lander (Im...

Following 12 minutes of precise maneuvering which began in lunar orbit, China's Chang'e-3 lunar lander, with the Yu Tu (Jade Rabbit) lunar rover onboard, successfully landed on the Moon's surface at 13:11 UT Saturday night. At this point, Chang'e-3's solar panels were opened to begin charging the rover's batteries for its first drive about the lunar surface, which is expected to begin about seven hours after landing.  Read More

The Moon Express MX-1 lunar lander acts as a hub for activity on the lunar surface, sendin...

Moon Express, a privately held company driven by a short-term goal of winning the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition, and a longer-term strategy of mining the Moon, last week revealed its MX-1 lunar lander at the closing session of Autodesk University in Las Vegas. Not a one-trick pony, the MX-1 is being designed as the first of a series of robotic spacecraft that can carry out a multitude of tasks in Earth orbit as well as in deep space.  Read More

Preliminary sketch of the 'Pumpkin' ascent stage (Photo: Northrop Grumman)

There are so many private space ventures under development these days that it seems like you need a scorecard to keep track of them all. This week, Northrop Grumman Corporation announced that it has completed a feasibility study on a new lunar lander for the Golden Spike Company as part of a plan to send to people to the Moon within ten years at a cost of US$750 million per person.  Read More

The first-place winner of the 2013 NASA Great Moonbuggy Race (high school division) was an...

It was Puerto Rico's day at the 20th NASA Great Moonbuggy Race. Teams from that country won first place in both the high school and college division races. More than 90 teams competed in the race, in which lightweight human-powered buggies race over a simulated lunar surface built at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The winning times for this grueling three-quarter mile course were 3:24 for the high school division and 3:32 for the college division.  Read More

Russia is planning to launch probe Luna-Glob in 2015 as a first step toward building a ful...

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) is planning to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the Moon in 2015, a first step toward the ambitious long-term plan to establish a robotic base on the surface of our largest satellite. The spacecraft, called Luna-Glob ("Moon globe"), will be followed by two more orbiters and two rovers that will study the lunar soil locally and collect samples of rocks and dust, bringing them back to Earth for analysis.  Read More

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