RCSP Team - Pioneering Space Companies Team up to Compete for Google Lunar X PRIZE

The team of Space Companies comprising the Rocket City Space Pioneers is led by Dynetics.

Dynetics Logo

Dynetics is an employee-owned company that has operated in Huntsville – the Rocket City – for more than 35 years. Dynetics has managed government and commercial programs involving multiple partners including industry and academia. Success stories include our recent FASTSAT program – we delivered a commercial microsatellite in less than 15 months in collaboration with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center – and the development of the forward propulsion system for the Bigelow Sundancer space station. Currently, Dynetics is working with the Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation (VCSI) and Teledyne Brown Engineering to provide NASA with a hot gas lunar lander testbed.

Space Companies joining Dynetics in this quest for the Google Lunar X PRIZE include:

Teledyne Brown Engineerign Logo

Teledyne Brown Engineering has a long heritage of full life cycle space systems expertise dating back to the Saturn V and most recently in developing and operating payload systems for the International Space Station. Recently, Teledyne designed, built, and flew the Ares I-X Roll Control System and also developed and delivered NASA’s cold gas lunar lander testbed nearing 150 successful test flights.

Andrews Aerospace was founded in 1999 to be a catalyst in the commercialization and development of space. The company is an affordable integrator of aerospace systems and a developer of advanced space technologies. As a result of a lean philosophy and understanding of launch services, Andrews Space created Spaceflight Services, focused on providing routine low-cost space access for small payloads through the use of standard flight interfaces and a streamlined integration process. Spaceflight Services recently signed an agreement with SpaceX to provide payload and integration services on the Falcon 9.

Spaceflight Services Moon Mission Data Sheet

Draper Laboratory Logo

Draper Laboratory is a not-for-profit research and development lab that has been involved with critical space systems development for 50 years. Draper’s space systems heritage began with designing the guidance, navigation, and control (GN&C) system for Apollo and continues today. Draper is part of the team that recently received the Collier Trophy, the highest U.S. aerospace honor, and continues to work with NASA and commercial customers on new launchers, spacecraft, and exploration vehicles. Continuing to build on its heritage of lunar landing success, Draper has developed the Guidance Embedded Navigator Integration Environment (GENIE) to demonstrate a fully functional, real-time GNC code on a terrestrial lander testbed, which completed a test flight in June 2010.

University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) Logo

The University of Alabama in Huntsville has a long history of developing spaceflight hardware projects. The University has flown more than 18 space shuttle flight payloads and three International Space Station payloads, and consistently ranks among the top universities in the nation for NASA-sponsored research.

Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation (VCSI) Logo

The non-profit Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation (VCSI) provides innovative engineering solutions and science applications. VCSI will support the team in developing unique partnering opportunities with other industrial partner space companies, academia, and government laboratories on a reimbursable basis.

Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) has earned a reputation for delivering intelligently designed, zero-fail space propulsion systems, and continues to build upon that reputation with even more efficient and powerful innovations. PWR’s experience has given the company a deep foundation of relevant research and development, and has led it to maintain the most comprehensive analysis and validation processes available.

PWR solves problems and meets extreme propulsion challenges within the Earth's atmosphere, and is continually developing more lightweight, compact, durable and reliable products. It applies that expertise to space launch, rotating machinery, and hypersonics, as well as compact, high-performance attitude control.

Leveraging more than 50 years of rocket engine propulsion and guidance experience, PWR supports both attitude control and axial propulsion that work over a demanding range of temperatures, shock, and vibration flight environments. These heritage DoD propulsion systems will reduce cost and schedule for new lander applications while maintaining robust performance capabilities.

Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation (VCSI) Logo

Moog is a worldwide designer, manufacturer and integrator of precision control components and systems, providing high performance mission critical solutions for launch vehicles, spacecraft, missiles, ground vehicles, naval vessels and security systems.  For launch vehicles and spacecraft, Moog supplies solutions such as solar array deployment actuators, antenna positioning mechanisms, thrust vector control, platform electronics, and propulsion systems and components.  Moog also specializes in payload isolation, ground-based test systems, tuned mass dampers for vibration control and jitter reduction control systems.  Moog is working with Dynetics to deliver flight-proven hardware for the Google Lunar X Prize, including actuation systems, and a secondary payload adapter called ESPA.

Huntsville Center for Technology

The Huntsville Center for Technology Competes in The Great Moonbuggy Race

Huntsville Center for Technology is the technical training center for Huntsville City schools. It serves students from all seven high schools in 14 skilled training areas. Students participate in projects such as NASA’s HUNCH (High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware) program and the Great Moonbuggy Race. Students have created hardware for astronaut training and have done rapid prototyping for the ARES program. In the summer of 2010, CAD students won first place in a national design contest, and the school took third place at the national competition with a chapter display for the ARES rocket floor system. The school’s moonbuggy racing team has won numerous honors, including three first-, two second- and two third-place wins within the past five years. In May 2010, the school received the NASA Educational Partnership Award. Visit HCT for more information about the school.

Huntsville Center for Technology

Analytical Mechanics Associates: Since 1962, Analytical Mechanics Associates (AMA) has provided world-class technical services and products to multiple industries including aerospace, defense, automotive, financial services, healthcare and packaging. Headquartered in Hampton, Va., AMA has operations in Huntsville, Ala., Dallas, Tex., and Edwards, Calif. Along with receiving various perennial awards from NASA, AMA was the winner of the 2010 NASA George M. Low Award in the small business service category. 

Learn more about these Space Companies and educational organizations by visiting their individual websites.

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Rocket City Space Pioneers Team Summit Update July 2011

Rocket City Space Pioneers Team Summit Update July 2011

Meet the Space Pioneers

Meet the Space Pioneers - Rocket City Space Pioneers X PRIZE Team: Tim Pickens, Team Leader and Chief Propulsion Engineer for Dynetics - Mike Graves, Spacecraft Integration - Jason Andrews, Mission Design/Avionics/Launch - Pete Paceley, Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GN&C) Integration - Mike Soutullo, Structures and Thermal - Mark Fisher, Propulsion - Barry King, Missions Operations - John Gregory, Student Research

Draper Laboratory

Draper Laboratory - Rocket City Space Pioneers Team Member brings a Legacy of Guidance Expertise. Draper’s history with developing guidance, navigation, and control (GN&C) systems in space began with the Apollo missions, and continues today with major NASA programs like the space shuttle and the International Space Station as well as commercial providers and the U.S. Defense Department.

Why Go After the PRIZE

Well, Tom, why is Dynetics going after the Google Lunar X Prize? Why are we putting together this corporate team? After thirty-five years in the business doing a lot of Defense work, what is your interest here and why do you think you can do this?

Andy Crocker

Rocket City Space Pioneer Andy Crocker is an aerospace engineer at Dynetics. Andy has worked for a number of large aerospace companies including Rocketdyne and Aerojet, and his career has been focused on rocket engine design. He has the most fun when he is designing hardware. After working at Rocketdyne, he joined the team at Orion Propulsion and worked on Boeing’s contract with NASA’s Ares I program.

Mike Graves Bio

Mike Graves Bio: Graves is the Dynetics program manager for the Rocket City Space Pioneers team developing a commercial lunar lander and rover. Graves also leads Dynetics’ team on the development and operations of the Fast, Affordable Science & Technology Satellite Huntsville (FASTSAT-HSV01) in collaboration with the Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. FASTSAT-HSV01 launched on Nov 19, 2010, on the DoD Space Test Program STP-S26 mission and is currently in science operations.

Michael Griffin

Michael Griffin, former NASA Administrator and current Rocket City Space Pioneers team member, talks about how he got started in the space business, his role at UAHuntsville, commercial space initiatives during his tenure at NASA, NASA data purchase from commercial Moon missions, and the best business case for going to the Moon.

Wayne Neumaier

Rocket City Space Pioneer Wayne Neumaier has built rockets since he was 11, starting with model rockets and then designing his own rockets in high school. He was a finalist in the very first Team America Rocketry challenge where teams had to send two eggs 1500 feet on two or more stages, and his launch vehicle ended up on CNN.

Tim Pickens Bio

Tim Pickens, the team leader for the Rocket City Space Pioneers, is the chief propulsion engineer and commercial space advisor at Dynetics. Dynetics brought him on board in December 2009 as part of the purchase of the space company Pickens started, Orion Propulsion Inc. Pickens is responsible for developing innovative space product solutions and expanding Dynetics’ commercial space business.

Mark Wells

Mark Wells talks to Tim Pickens, RCSP Team Leader, about his interest in building rocket belts that are propelled by peroxide.

Orion Propulsion

Dynetics purchased Orion Propulsion Inc. (OPI) in December 2009 forming Dynetics Propulsion. Tim Pickens joined Dynetics to head the newly formed Dynetics Propulsion and continues to build on the Orion Propulsion / Dynetics Propulsion success story.