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Moon Express Testing Compact Lunar Lander at Kennedy Space Center

In April of 2014, NASA partnered with a company called Moon Express as part of the agency’s new Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (CATALYST) initiative, which aims to advance lander capabilities that will enable delivery of payloads to the surface of the moon.

Moon Express, Inc. of Moffett Field, California and Cape Canaveral, FL, is one of three businesses selected for the program, which is part of the agency’s effort to develop the capabilities and cutting-edge technologies that will help send astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit.

Moon Express has based its flight development and test operations at Kennedy Space Center, and is using facilities and the automated landing and hazard avoidance technology, or ALHAT, field at the Shuttle Landing Facility, to perform its initial lander test development.

"Having Moon Express at Kennedy is yet another cornerstone moment in the transformation of the center to becoming a multi-user spaceport," said Tom Engler, deputy director of Center Planning and Development. "A facility used by NASA's Morpheus prototype lander will now be used by a commercial company."

The Moon Express team has been busy since October 2014 testing their prototype lunar lander vehicle, called MTV-1X, in a series of tests conducted at the ALHAT field. The compact vehicle is the size of a large coffee table. The version of this vehicle that will fly in space is a single-stage spacecraft that uses hydrogen peroxide as a primary fuel in a bi-propellant propulsion system bolstered by kerosene for its Earth departure and moon arrival burns. It's also powered by solar energy, which makes it a very green vehicle.

"NASA has been a wonderful partner," said Bob Richards, Moon Express co-founder and CEO. "Enjoying the support of the Kennedy Space Center and working beside the Morpheus team has been a great environment to build and test our own vehicle at Kennedy."

"We want to support the exciting commercial innovations that come from partnerships like this one with Moon Express," Engler said.

 

Bob Richards, co-founder and chief executive officer of Moon Express  

 

Moon Express MTV-1X Test Flights at KSC

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