Moon Express Acquires Rocket City Space Pioneers

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Moon Express said Dec. 20 that it had reached a teaming agreement with Huntsville, Ala.-based Dynetics for the acquisition of the Rocket City Space Pioneers Google Lunar X Prize team.

The agreement allows for Rocket City Space Pioneers’ team leader, Tim Pickens, to transition to the role of chief propulsion engineer for Moon Express. Pickens resigned as Dynetics’ chief propulsion engineer and commercial space adviser in mid-2012, ending a relationship that began when he sold his company, Orion Propulsion, to Dynetics in 2009.

Both Moon Express and the Rocket City Space Pioneers/Dynetics teams were selected by NASA in 2010 for commercial lunar data contracts worth up to $10 million each. The combined teams are vying for the $30 million purse Google and the X Prize Foundation have put up to challenge privately funded teams to place a robot on the Moon’s surface capable of traveling at least 500 meters and transmitting high-definition video, images and data back to Earth.