Moon Express raises $12.5 million and targets 2020 for moon mission

Moon Express is planning to send new robotic explorers to the Moon starting in 2020. Moon Express had participated in the Google Lunar Xprize.

Moon Express has raised $12.5 million.

Moon Express Chief Executive Bob Richards said that the funding will support redevelopment of Launch Complex (LC) 17 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, a former Delta 2 launch site that the company is leasing from the Air Force to serve as a spacecraft development and test center.

“The $10 million will allow us to complete key renovations at LC-17 and pull the trigger on ordering long-lead flight hardware and building the spacecraft for our maiden flight, which will be synced to coincide with customer schedules for their payload readiness,” Richards said in an Oct. 1 email.

Richards added that July 2020 is a “reasonable goal” for that first mission.

A $2.5 million bridge round was led by Miami-based Minerva Capital Group.
$10 million of a planned $20 million Series B round was led by an undisclosed lead investor.

36 thoughts on “Moon Express raises $12.5 million and targets 2020 for moon mission”

  1. Not impressed by the delay on your California choo-choo. The site for Sydney’s second airport was chosen in the 1950s. Studies and reviews are still underway.

    Reply
  2. Not impressed by the delay on your California choo-choo.The site for Sydney’s second airport was chosen in the 1950s. Studies and reviews are still underway.

    Reply
  3. This sounds even more wacky than your plan to terraform Mars by putting mirrors on Phobos. Do yourself a favor: go learn enough science and engineering that you’d be able to do the math to see how ridiculous your ideas are.

    Reply
  4. This sounds even more wacky than your plan to terraform Mars by putting mirrors on Phobos. Do yourself a favor: go learn enough science and engineering that you’d be able to do the math to see how ridiculous your ideas are.

    Reply
  5. As DoctorPat said, Moon Express is merely trying to land a few robotic probes, about the size of a large refrigerator each. No humans, no base, no BFR. They do want to do a sample return later, but a robotic sample return from the Moon isn’t much more complex than a robotic lander. Their “permanent research outpost” is just a bunch of probes with scientific instruments. No humans. Since they participated in the Lunar X Prize, I’m assuming this is designed to be low-cost, and they have most of the design worked out. Actually, their designs were posted on NBF a while back. They have, IIRC, 3 probe designs for different functions, with a bunch of shared hardware. Based on this article, they were waiting on funding before ordering hardware components, so now comes the build phase. Yes, actual hardware is more difficult than theoretical designs. They will likely run into delays and cost overruns, but I anticipate the cost for the first probe to be in the $100-200 million range. Total cost may be under $500 million. I’ll concede that for *all* of the stuff, they’re close to 1% of the funds. But for the first probe, closer to 10% (5% for the pessimistic figure). And like I said, 50% of the current round. Anyway, this is just one funding round. There’ll be more when they make more progress.

    Reply
  6. As DoctorPat said Moon Express is merely trying to land a few robotic probes about the size of a large refrigerator each. No humans no base no BFR. They do want to do a sample return later but a robotic sample return from the Moon isn’t much more complex than a robotic lander. Their permanent research outpost”” is just a bunch of probes with scientific instruments. No humans.Since they participated in the Lunar X Prize”” I’m assuming this is designed to be low-cost and they have most of the design worked out. Actually their designs were posted on NBF a while back. They have IIRC 3 probe designs for different functions with a bunch of shared hardware. Based on this article they were waiting on funding before ordering hardware components so now comes the build phase.Yes actual hardware is more difficult than theoretical designs. They will likely run into delays and cost overruns but I anticipate the cost for the first probe to be in the $100-200 million range. Total cost may be under $500 million.I’ll concede that for *all* of the stuff they’re close to 1{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of the funds. But for the first probe closer to 10{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} (5{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} for the pessimistic figure). And like I said 50{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of the current round.Anyway”” this is just one funding round. There’ll be more when they make more progress.”””

    Reply
  7. You are planning on sending several hundred advanced teraforming robots to Mercury for the price of sending one simple robot to Luna? I’d like to see the cost calculations on that.

    Reply
  8. You are planning on sending several hundred advanced teraforming robots to Mercury for the price of sending one simple robot to Luna?I’d like to see the cost calculations on that.

    Reply
  9. No, they DO buy the service from some existing launch service (such as SpaceX). The old launch pad is converted into a test ground. Probably so they can test the automatic rocket powered landing system for the probe on a nice, flat, solid area that is already licenced for rocketry.

    Reply
  10. No they DO buy the service from some existing launch service (such as SpaceX).The old launch pad is converted into a test ground. Probably so they can test the automatic rocket powered landing system for the probe on a nice flat solid area that is already licenced for rocketry.

    Reply
  11. Astronauts? Human use? Survival equipment? Which mission description are you reading? This mission is described as a simple robot probe. Just a self landing box with a couple of cameras and a radio.

    Reply
  12. Astronauts? Human use? Survival equipment? Which mission description are you reading?This mission is described as a simple robot probe. Just a self landing box with a couple of cameras and a radio.

    Reply
  13. I’m afraid your afternoon cup of coffee hasn’t kicked in. What, pray, do you think it would cost to actually implement the upcoming, much-ballyhooed, national-anthem accompanied, festooned-in-titanium-and-tech Moon Shot program is going to cost? If anything, I’m perhaps as woefully short in my “billion-plus” unstated estimate as the $12.5 million is of that. Seriously! The “comes to mind, while not even TRYING to be comprehensive list” is rather daunting: • (1) Engineering a lunar lander • (2) … and its entourage of science, survival, communications equip. • (3) … and the ‘envelope’ of the myriad of possible missions • (4) … and blue-ribbon agreement as to The Greater Mission • (5) Establishing mission-worthiness of the designs • (6) Building prototypes, for ground testing • (7) … and testing facilities, for them • (8) Training lunar astronauts, backups, auxiliaries • (9) Certification of the BFR lifter for human use • (10) Design of a permanent(?) Lunar Orbital Space Terminal (LOST) • (11) … building prototype, vacuum testing, replicating, improving • (12) Upgrade of the “food program” Some of these are seriously expensive to “fix”, or experiment on various ways, make improvements afforded by previously unavailable materials, unavailable manufacturing technology, unavailable computer modeling, and revised-for-modern-sensibilities design constraints. The point tho’ is simple. Getting to the moon is clearly going to cost WAY more than a billion. WAY less than a trillion. But certainly somewhere between. Just saying, GoatGuy

    Reply
  14. I’m afraid your afternoon cup of coffee hasn’t kicked in. What pray do you think it would cost to actually implement the upcoming much-ballyhooed national-anthem accompanied festooned-in-titanium-and-tech Moon Shot program is going to cost? If anything I’m perhaps as woefully short in my “billion-plus” unstated estimate as the $12.5 million is of that. Seriously! The “comes to mind while not even TRYING to be comprehensive list” is rather daunting:• (1) Engineering a lunar lander• (2) … and its entourage of science survival communications equip.• (3) … and the ‘envelope’ of the myriad of possible missions• (4) … and blue-ribbon agreement as to The Greater Mission• (5) Establishing mission-worthiness of the designs• (6) Building prototypes for ground testing• (7) … and testing facilities for them• (8) Training lunar astronauts backups auxiliaries• (9) Certification of the BFR lifter for human use• (10) Design of a permanent(?) Lunar Orbital Space Terminal (LOST)• (11) … building prototype vacuum testing replicating improving• (12) Upgrade of the “food program”Some of these are seriously expensive to “fix” or experiment on various ways make improvements afforded by previously unavailable materials unavailable manufacturing technology unavailable computer modeling and revised-for-modern-sensibilities design constraints. The point tho’ is simple. Getting to the moon is clearly going to cost WAY more than a billion. WAY less than a trillion. But certainly somewhere between.Just sayingGoatGuy”

    Reply
  15. They’re going to build their own rocket, rather that buy the service much cheaper, and more reliable from SpaceX? If not, why are they getting their own launch pad? They could likely put five, or ten times as many probes on the surface with the same amount of money! They could send a really big mission with a falcon heavy.

    Reply
  16. They’re going to build their own rocket rather that buy the service much cheaper and more reliable from SpaceX? If not why are they getting their own launch pad?They could likely put five or ten times as many probes on the surface with the same amount of money! They could send a really big mission with a falcon heavy.

    Reply
  17. Where do you see 1%? The numbers I see are: they want $20M, and raised $10 of them, plus another $2.5M earlier. Which is 50% of the current round’s target. For the launch, I’m guessing they’ll be ride-sharing, so they won’t be paying a full price. And they’ll probably do at least one more round before that.

    Reply
  18. Where do you see 1{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12}? The numbers I see are: they want $20M and raised $10 of them plus another $2.5M earlier. Which is 50{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of the current round’s target.For the launch I’m guessing they’ll be ride-sharing so they won’t be paying a full price. And they’ll probably do at least one more round before that.

    Reply
  19. …like what the folks who are ‘building’ the High Speed Train To Nowhere in California DID FOR SEVERAL YEARS before breaking ground at all.

    Reply
  20. …like what the folks who are ‘building’ the High Speed Train To Nowhere in California DID FOR SEVERAL YEARS before breaking ground at all.

    Reply
  21. This sounds even more wacky than your plan to terraform Mars by putting mirrors on Phobos. Do yourself a favor: go learn enough science and engineering that you’d be able to do the math to see how ridiculous your ideas are.

    Reply
  22. As DoctorPat said, Moon Express is merely trying to land a few robotic probes, about the size of a large refrigerator each. No humans, no base, no BFR. They do want to do a sample return later, but a robotic sample return from the Moon isn’t much more complex than a robotic lander. Their “permanent research outpost” is just a bunch of probes with scientific instruments. No humans.

    Since they participated in the Lunar X Prize, I’m assuming this is designed to be low-cost, and they have most of the design worked out. Actually, their designs were posted on NBF a while back. They have, IIRC, 3 probe designs for different functions, with a bunch of shared hardware. Based on this article, they were waiting on funding before ordering hardware components, so now comes the build phase.

    Yes, actual hardware is more difficult than theoretical designs. They will likely run into delays and cost overruns, but I anticipate the cost for the first probe to be in the $100-200 million range. Total cost may be under $500 million.

    I’ll concede that for *all* of the stuff, they’re close to 1% of the funds. But for the first probe, closer to 10% (5% for the pessimistic figure). And like I said, 50% of the current round.

    Anyway, this is just one funding round. There’ll be more when they make more progress.

    Reply
  23. So, raised 1% of what’s needed? Sounds like just enough for a small team to spend the next 5 years or so in relative income coziness. Coin a few reports, periodically make press releases, attend the usual symposia and so forth. Just saying, GoatGuy

    Reply
  24. So raised 1{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of what’s needed? Sounds like just enough for a small team to spend the next 5 years or so in relative income coziness. Coin a few reports periodically make press releases attend the usual symposia and so forth. Just sayingGoatGuy

    Reply
  25. You are planning on sending several hundred advanced teraforming robots to Mercury for the price of sending one simple robot to Luna?
    I’d like to see the cost calculations on that.

    Reply
  26. No, they DO buy the service from some existing launch service (such as SpaceX).

    The old launch pad is converted into a test ground. Probably so they can test the automatic rocket powered landing system for the probe on a nice, flat, solid area that is already licenced for rocketry.

    Reply
  27. Astronauts? Human use? Survival equipment? Which mission description are you reading?

    This mission is described as a simple robot probe. Just a self landing box with a couple of cameras and a radio.

    Reply
  28. I’m afraid your afternoon cup of coffee hasn’t kicked in. What, pray, do you think it would cost to actually implement the upcoming, much-ballyhooed, national-anthem accompanied, festooned-in-titanium-and-tech Moon Shot program is going to cost? If anything, I’m perhaps as woefully short in my “billion-plus” unstated estimate as the $12.5 million is of that.

    Seriously!

    The “comes to mind, while not even TRYING to be comprehensive list” is rather daunting:

    • (1) Engineering a lunar lander
    • (2) … and its entourage of science, survival, communications equip.
    • (3) … and the ‘envelope’ of the myriad of possible missions
    • (4) … and blue-ribbon agreement as to The Greater Mission
    • (5) Establishing mission-worthiness of the designs
    • (6) Building prototypes, for ground testing
    • (7) … and testing facilities, for them
    • (8) Training lunar astronauts, backups, auxiliaries
    • (9) Certification of the BFR lifter for human use
    • (10) Design of a permanent(?) Lunar Orbital Space Terminal (LOST)
    • (11) … building prototype, vacuum testing, replicating, improving
    • (12) Upgrade of the “food program”

    Some of these are seriously expensive to “fix”, or experiment on various ways, make improvements afforded by previously unavailable materials, unavailable manufacturing technology, unavailable computer modeling, and revised-for-modern-sensibilities design constraints.

    The point tho’ is simple.

    Getting to the moon is clearly going to cost WAY more than a billion.
    WAY less than a trillion.

    But certainly somewhere between.
    Just saying,
    GoatGuy

    Reply
  29. They’re going to build their own rocket, rather that buy the service much cheaper, and more reliable from SpaceX? If not, why are they getting their own launch pad?
    They could likely put five, or ten times as many probes on the surface with the same amount of money! They could send a really big mission with a falcon heavy.

    Reply
  30. Where do you see 1%? The numbers I see are: they want $20M, and raised $10 of them, plus another $2.5M earlier. Which is 50% of the current round’s target.

    For the launch, I’m guessing they’ll be ride-sharing, so they won’t be paying a full price. And they’ll probably do at least one more round before that.

    Reply
  31. So, raised 1% of what’s needed? Sounds like just enough for a small team to spend the next 5 years or so in relative income coziness. Coin a few reports, periodically make press releases, attend the usual symposia and so forth.

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy

    Reply

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