Space travel is about to get a shake up by Moonspike, who’s goal is to take average people in to space. Or at least some of their data. This endeavor is to launch a full-sized moon rocket to deliver a small payload to the surface of the moon. Moonspike’s going to prove that “average” people can get to space, thereby opening the door to space travel that’s not funded by countries. This team has experience too, they come from places like NASA and the Copenhagen Suborbital Project.
It seems simple enough. Launch a rocket in to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) then boost it towards the moon so that it’ll “land” at about 2,000 m/s delivering the small payload, the namesake of the project, a moonspike. The moomspike will contain several gigabytes of data. Data that will be supplied by the backers of this project, YOU! That’s right this is a Kickstarter project. And a pretty unique one at that…going to the moon. If you’re a backer, what do you get? The levels of support range from £3 to £4,999 and for that price you’ll get your name in the code all the way to your logo on the side of the rocket. The most common level seems to be the send-a-meg-of-data-to-the-moon. You can choose just about any data you want to include, pictures, journals, music…whatever, because it’s just data.
There are some very enticing mid-range support levels that get you a post, a lapel pin, a commemorative coin or even a package of all of them. You can also support the project enough to go to “Space Camp” with the team…and actually help build the rocket. And for just sheer coolness factor, you can even have one of the thrusters named after you, well, any name you choose really. Any time they refer to that thruster they’ll call it by the name you choose in video or written word.
Why back Moonspike? They seem to have the experience necessary to actually get this done. All kinds of people on the planet know theoretically how to send a rocket to the moon, but many of the people signed-on to this project have actually done it. Some are from NASA and the Copenhagen project I mentioned earlier and some are amateur rocket builders with years of experience. Not the back-yard-come-here-kid-and-watch-this kind of experience. More like the here’s-a-20-foot-rocket-let’s-launch-it-successfully kind. They’re focused on transparency too. It’s part of their charter, so to speak. Most space programs are shrouded in secrecy, but that’s not how this is going to go down. They want everyone out there for the public to see and learn from. If they’re going to be successful, they’ll need to learn from failures more than successes and to allow this project to further the ability of privately-funded space programs, they’ll need to share what they’ve learned with the world.
Moonspike’s got 18 days to go (at the time of this authoring) and they’re quite a bit short of the £600,000 goal they’ve set. Currently the Moonspike Kickstarter is at £64,200 of their total goal, to be obtained by November first in order to be properly and fully funded. As with all space travel, there’s a certain amount of risk associated with Kickstarters of this nature. The materials used to propel the rocket are exceptionally volatile. The environment the rocket must travel though is rather unforgiving. All this means, even if the project is fully funded and they actually get to launch, your data may not get all the way to the moon, and you’ve got to accept that risk, ’cause there ain’t gonna be no refunds!