PITTSBURGH, June 2, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Astrobotic, which is building a service to make the Moon accessible to the world, today announces that DHL and Airbus Defence and Space are supporting Astrobotic to develop its lunar payload delivery service.
Deutsche Post DHL Group, the world's leading mail and logistics company, will become the "Official Logistics Provider for Astrobotic's First Mission to the Moon." DHL will provide logistics services for Astrobotic's spacecraft and its customer payloads, making sure that all materials for the new lunar lander as well as the 'space freight' will arrive safe and on time to begin their journey to the Moon.
"DHL has a proud history of connecting its customers to the world. Moon exploration is also a theme that has a special historical significance for us – DHL was founded in 1969, the year of the first moon landing. Today, we are excited to be embarking upon this incredible venture into the next era of logistics - beyond Earth and to the Moon. Having played a pioneering role in logistics for many years, we are looking forward to partnering with Astrobotic to open a new frontier in space, and to further developing lunar logistics in the future," said Arjan Sissing, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Marketing, Deutsche Post DHL Group.
Airbus Defence and Space, the world's second largest space company, will contribute initial engineering support to Astrobotic through a Memorandum of Understanding, as the company advances its lunar lander design to a preliminary design review. Airbus Defence and Space brings world-class spacecraft experience in human spaceflight and exploration and leverages previous lander development work with the European Space Agency.
"Airbus Defence and Space clearly regards Astrobotic as the front runner in commercial lunar transportation services. With our signed Memorandum of Understanding we have now the opportunity to assess options to further strengthen this cooperation and to become a true partner in the global endeavor to provide a commercial gateway to the moon", remarked Bart Reijnen, Senior Vice President of On-Orbit Services & Exploration.
Together, this team will advance the technical maturity of the new "Peregrine" Lunar Lander towards the next big development milestone. Peregrine builds on eight years of Astrobotic lunar lander development, and will carry Astrobotic's first delivery of payloads to the lunar surface. Peregrine will fly as a secondary payload on its first mission, with the ability to fly Astrobotic's future missions thereafter. Peregrine offers mission flexibility with a 35 to 265 kilogram payload capacity. This enables secondary flights on several different launch vehicles. The lander will be powered with an Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion system featuring next generation space engine technology.
These announced partnerships build on an already existing Astrobotic relationship with NASA, through the Lunar CATALYST Program. NASA Lunar CATALYST provides Astrobotic access to some of the best spacecraft engineers and facilities in the world, as part of NASA's effort to encourage the development of U.S. commercial robotic lunar lander capabilities.
"Today's announcement marks a new era in commercial lunar activity. With Airbus Defence and Space, DHL, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and NASA, Astrobotic has built a team of legends. Make no mistake that Astrobotic has built a world-class team to make the Moon accessible to the world with the Peregrine Lander," stated John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic.
Astrobotic Technology is a lunar logistics company that delivers payloads to the Moon for companies, governments, universities, nonprofits, and individuals. The company's spacecraft accommodates multiple customers on a single flight, offering lunar delivery at an industry-defining price of $1.2 Million per kilogram. Astrobotic is a partner with NASA through a Space Act Agreement under the Lunar CATALYST program, and has 21 prior and ongoing NASA contracts. The company has 10 payload delivery contracts in place for its first mission and dozens of customer negotiations for upcoming missions. The company is also pursuing the Google Lunar XPRIZE with partner Carnegie Mellon University. Astrobotic was spun out of Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute in 2007, and is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA.
DHL – The leading global brand in the logistics industry. DHL's family of divisions offer an unrivalled portfolio of logistics services ranging from national and international parcel delivery, international express, road, air and ocean transport to industrial supply chain management. With about 325,000 employees in over 220 countries and territories worldwide, DHL connects people and businesses securely and reliably, enabling global trade flows. With specialized solutions for growth markets and industries including e-commerce, technology, life sciences and healthcare, energy, automotive and retail, a proven commitment to corporate responsibility and an unrivalled presence in developing markets, DHL is decisively positioned as "The logistics company for the world."