German company announces their Mission to the MoonStaff Writer | December 1, 2016
PtScientists, a private space science and engineering company based in Berlin, has announced plans to revisit the landing site of Apollo 17, 45 years after the historic mission saw the last human footprints on the Moon.
Space 45 years after the historic mission
PTScientists have already developed a lightweight, four-wheel drive, solar-powered rover with the aid of technology partner Audi, and have also successfully negotiated a launch contract with Spaceflight Industries, Inc, showing that the team has come a long way since 2008 when the company was first founded.
“It’s the last piece of the puzzle” says PTScientists CEO Robert Bohme, “we have been busy designing and testing our rovers, developing our transport and landing spacecraft, and now we have secured our ride to space.”
The team will follow in the footsteps of former Apollo 17 moonwalkers, Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmittare who are putting their support behind this mission, on the provision that the team are not allowed beat the lunar speed record that Cernan set while on the Moon!
The PTScientists are one of 16 teams still in the running for the Google Lunar XPRIZE and they will be using a commercial launch vehicle to blast their vehicles in to space.
Once in orbit around the Moon, their Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module – ALINA – will safely deliver the rovers to the surface. It is expected that the number of teams vying for the prize will drop significantly as teams who have not secured launch contracts by the end of 2016 will be eliminated.
ALINA is capable of transporting up to 100 kg of payload to the Moon, which is enough to carry a pair of rovers – known as Audi lunar quattros – and still have room for additional scientific and commercial payloads. An offer that Sweden, Canada and the USA have already taken up with the company. ■