Astrobotic Technology reserves a spot on a private rocketship to deliver their lunar lander to the moon by as early as 2013.
- A company building a lunar rover and lander have booked a flight to the moon.
- The contract is the first moon mission for the privately owned SpaceX.
- The mission could launch as early as December 2013.
SpaceX, the rocket company headed by serial entrepreneur Elon Musk, sold its first launch to the moon, a mission that gives Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technology, a Carnegie Mellon University spin-off, an early lead in a $32 million race to land a privately owned rover on the lunar surface.
The contract, announced Sunday, reserves a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to fly Astrobotic Technology's lander and rover to the moon as early as December 2013.
"For every hundred technology developments there is one that has a ride booked. It's a real distinguishing factor," David Gump, president of Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technology, told Discovery News.
There's room aboard the Falcon 9 for another 240 pounds of additional cargo, space Astrobotic Technology is selling for $700,000 per pound, plus a $250,000-per-payoad fee for integration, communications and other support services.