It’s been 40 years since a human being last set foot on the Moon, and the Golden Spike Companywants to go back – routinely. The space startup announced their plans at a press conference today. Their plans were unveiled by its Chairman of the Board, Gerry Griffin, and its President and CEO, Dr. Alan Stern.
Those names give the company instant credibility. Gerry Griffin was a Flight Director for the Apollo Missions and is a former Director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Stern is a veteran both of aerospace companies and NASA itself, where he was the leader of the space program’s science missions. He even received training for a space shuttle launch, though he didn’t end up flying on a mission.
Before today, the Internet has been buzzing with rumors about the company’s plans, rumors that amused Dr. Stern when I spoke to him on the phone yesterday.
“We’re a startup and we’ve been at this for two years,” he said. “But we don’t have anything built yet but an interesting business plan.”
Stern emphasized to me that they are at a “very early stage” in their plans. But those plans, he feels, are different than other commercial space ventures.
“Instead of saying, ‘what would we design with a clean sheet of paper?’, we asked, ‘what’s existing today that could work?’ We came up with a maximally built plan based on – stuff that’s already built and operating. It’s only when something doesn’t exist that we plan to build from scratch.”
The main thing they have to build is a lander, suits and equipment for the Moon, which they’ll be working with on a team consisting of, among others, Armadillo Aerospace, the United Launch Alliance, and other aerospace companies. But most of the other technology is already available.
This “maximally pragmatic strategy,” said Stern, is the “direct result of one concept:..