Tag Archives: PTScientists

Lunar lander company PTScientists purchased

Capitalism in space: The private commercial lunar lander company PTScientists has been purchased by an unknown investor, thereby avoid liquidation after declaring bankruptcy in July.

Berlin-based PTScientists and the law firm Görg, which handled the company’s bankruptcy administration, announced the acquisition in a German-language statement published Sept. 2. The announcement said neither the company buying PTScientists nor the purchase price would be disclosed, but that the deal was effective Sept. 1.

The acquisition, the announcement stated, allows PTScientists to retain its staff of about 60 people who had been working on lunar lander concepts, including a study for the European Space Agency of a mission to send a lander to the moon to perform experiments for in-situ resource utilization. ESA awarded that study to a team that included PTScientists as well as launch vehicle company ArianeGroup in January.

It seems that someone decided that this company was worth saving, and that it (and the private construction of private planetary missions) has the potential to make them money in time.

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Private lunar lander company files for bankruptcy

Capitalism in space: Former Google Lunar X-Prize competitor Part Time Scientists has now filed for bankruptcy.

The company, with about 60 employees, has emphasized a number of partnerships with major corporations, such as Audi, Vodafone and Red Bull Media House, a subsidiary of beverage company Red Bull. The company is also teamed with ArianeGroup to study development of a lunar lander mission for ESA.

PTScientists, though, had suffered delays in the development of its lunar lander. The company said last November its lander could launch as soon as late 2019, a date it revised in January to no earlier than the first quarter of 2020. However, at a conference in early June, a company official said that lander mission would now launch no earlier than the second half of 2021 as it continues to work on the lander’s design.

It appears to me that they simply were never able to raise the capital necessary to build their lander, despite these partnership deals.

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Former Google Lunar X-Prize competitor still alive

Capitalism in space: Part Time Scientists, a Germany company partly sponsored by Audi that was formerly a competitor for the Google Lunar X-Prize, has reiterated its plans to land a privately-built and funded rover near the Apollo 17 landing site, and to do it careful so as to not damage the site’s historical significance.

The company has pledged its support to the organization For All Moonkind, which is dedicated to protecting the Apollo landing sites.

A review of the PTScientists website however provides little information on the company’s test schedule leading up to this lunar rover mission. I must therefore remain skeptical.

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Another Google Lunar X-Prize team secures launch contract

Part Time Scientists, one of the teams competing for the Google Lunar X-Prize, has secured a launch contract through launch rideshare broker Spaceflight Inc.

Their rover will launch as a secondary payload. It is the broker’s job to secure that slot.

PTScientists plans to land its rovers in the moon’s Taurus-Littrow valley, the last place humans set foot on the lunar surface in December 1972, in the hopes of getting a closer look at how the Apollo moon buggy has survived over the past four and a half decades in the extreme temperatures and inhospitable conditions on the moon. “There is a reason we have chosen the Apollo 17 landing site,” said Karsten Becker, PTScientists electronics head, said in a call with reporters on Tuesday. “That is because the Taurus-Littrow valley is geographically very interesting — that is why it was chosen for Apollo 17 — but it is also a very-well documented site. There are many pictures where you can see that it is very flat, and that there are not that many stones laying around.”

The landing site has been chosen to be within reach of the Apollo 17 site, but not so close that it could risk damage to the NASA preservation heritage area. “We want to land 3 to 5 kilometers [2 to 4 miles] away from the [Apollo 17] landing site,” said Becker.

This team is now the fourth X-Prize team to secure a launch contract. All are hoping to launch within the next two years.

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