Golden Spike announce Phase A for commercial lunar landing missions

December 6th, 2012 by Chris Bergin

The Golden Spike Company team have revealed their initial work to create commercial lunar expeditions to the surface of the Moon. Led by a heavyweight board of directors, the company is currently in Phase A of their evaluations into the hardware that will enable crewed landings on the Moon as early as 2020.

Golden Spike:

The company, formed in 2010, has an impressive board of directors, led by Board Chair Gerry Griffin – a former Director of Johnson Space Center and Apollo Flight Director – and President/CEO Alan Stern, the well-known Planetary scientist, and former head of all NASA science missions.

The board includes former NASA engineers, astronauts and managers – including the highly respected former Space Shuttle Program (SSP) manager Wayne Hale, along with commercial space notables, such as former SpaceX program manager for the Dragon spacecraft, Max Vozoff.

The company’s board of advisors also includes Newt Gingrich, former US Speaker of the House of Representatives, who cited his interest in a lunar base during his campaign as a US presidential candidate.

Via comments provided via interview to by Golden Spike’s leadership ahead of the announcement, the initial drive behind setting up the company was conceived out of the failing Constellation Program (CxP) – the NASA roadmap built from the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) that aimed to send NASA astronauts on lunar surface sorties ahead of crewed missions to Mars.

By early 2010, Mr Stern had set up a study group, to evaluate a commercial approach to sending people to the moon, with the findings portraying that it was “clearly possible” that the private sector could enable crewed lunar missions. By the fall of 2010, Mr Stern and Mr Griffin – along with members of the study group and others – formed the Golden Spike Company to push their ambitions forward.

For the last two years, the company has been building a business model and conducting technical studies into the lunar architecture they are currently pursuing.

Realizing their goal – to the point they successfully carry out their first crewed lunar surface mission – will cost between $7 and $8 billion. While no specific details into current funding are likely to be revealed during this initial period, the company has said it will be mainly relying on funding via sales revenue, generated via contracts they expect to be signed by customers for actual lunar flights.

As far as the vehicles that will be used to transport paying crewmembers to the Moon, the company has not yet selected a rocket of preference.

Golden Spike has, however, conducted feasibility studies into several launch vehicle and capsule options, fostering multiple options and numerous technical solutions.

Read more: Golden Spike announce Phase A for commercial lunar landing missions | NASA Space Flight.

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