Feeds

Australian telco in $20m robot moon shot bid

PlusComms joins Lunar X Prize team, plans for Sydney mission control

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Australian telecommunications and satellite communications company PlusComms has emerged as a key partner in a space consortium planning to send a robotic spacecraft to the moon.

PlusComms, which is backed by telco industry stalwart Robert Brand, is part of Team Stellar one of the teams competing for the Google Lunar X Prize.

The Googleplex-sponsored initiative is an international moon exploration challenge organized by the X Prize Foundation, challenging space explorers to be the first to land a robotic craft on the lunar surface, to travel at least 1,650 feet and send data and high definition images back to Earth.

The first privately funded team to achieve this by December 31, 2015, will scoop a $US20 million prize.

According to Brand, the regional operations manager of Sydney based PlusComms is partnering with US based KGo Aerospace and i7 Engineering for a commercial lunar mission scheduled for late in 2014.

The partners are the operational founders of Team Stellar, with KGo Aerospace driving the development of the spacecraft through strategic partnerships with other aerospace and technology companies.

Team Stellar has also partnered with George Washington University to develop the cruise vehicles plasma propulsion system and will work with production company Flightline Films to develop a 3D stereoscopic, HD camera system which will be fitted on the cruise, decent, and rover vehicles and will beam footage back to earth.

As part of the basic PlusComms mandate for the project, the company claims that it will build mission control centres in Sydney and Croatia, secure 3 x 30m dishes, build a global data network and backup data network.

The centres are expected to be kept on line for other missions after the 2014 Stellar mission is completed. Brand said that the group will also partner with local universities to acquire and train staff for the mission.

The funding for the local portion of the project’s development have yet to be detailed.

“Although I have been involved in many space missions here in Australia, this will be the most complex ever," Brand said. "It will bring some serious long term ability to Australia and support for other space missions. Once the Spacecraft is launched, the responsibility of many of the major activities will reside with me and my team."

Brand, has been appointed director of spacecraft communications, navigations and data for the Team Stellar group.

Earlier this year, PlusComms bid for the purchase of the Jamesburg Earth Station in California's Carmel Valley. Jamesburg, with a price tag of $US3 million was built to assist the Apollo moon landings and until 2002 was a fully functional communications station operated by AT&T.

Brand told The Register that the transaction is in progress and should be completed by the end of January. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.