A full scale Moon rocket, that will soar into the heavens and then launch a tiny spacecraft on a 400,000 km one-way journey to the Moon.
We want to find out if some ordinary rocket engineers, without state backing, can design and build a genuine Moon rocket.
If we can do that together, we can start a new era of open space access, driven by ordinary people joining forces to building extraordinary rockets & spacecraft.
And we've built and launched some big rockets before. Here's one we built earlier.
Kickstarter backers will get exclusive access to a real-life space mission, joining in making key decisions as we design, build and finally launch the Moonspike rocket. You can ask us questions, and give us suggestions that could alter the course of our mission.
As a team member you'll have access to some superb rewards, like membership of the Moonspike Academy, access to Mooncamp, a seat at mission control, your own data in the space payload, actual parts from the rocket and numerous limited edition goodies like mission patches, posters, challenge coins and pins. And of course you can follow our progress through video diaries and video chats.
We looked at literally hundreds of design options and settled on a design using proven space technology with a few modern twists. Our intention is to build a two-stage, liquid-fuelled vehicle that is capable of lifting a small spacecraft into Low Earth Orbit (LEO). We will then send that spacecraft to the Moon carrying our payload.
The spacecraft is the third stage of the vehicle, and has a mass of 147kgs when fuelled. This little vehicle will make the transit from Earth to Moon and end it's life impacting the Moon at around 2,000m/s.
The spacecraft is largely a container for the volumes of liquids and gases used to push it towards the moon, with communications and guidance electronics, and the tiny, symbolic 1 gram payload attached. When it arrives at the Moon there will be just 35kg of empty spacecraft left.
We named this mission after this tiny symbolic payload - the Moonspike. We chose a very tiny 1 gram payload as a demonstration, in order to make the problem of building a moon rocket as simple as possible.
The Moonspike is a tiny spike of titanium that is designed to survive a hard landing with the moon.
It's important to note that the payload is just a demonstration - the main challenge of this adventure is building and launching the rocket, and sending that tiny spacecraft 400,000km through space to the Moon.
Shipping for Christmas 2015!
We have had several questions about shipping in time for the Holiday season.
The images of the mission patch, lapel button and challenge coin are of the actual sample items, not Photoshop - we have already made the tooling, and you are looking at the real thing. This means that if we get funded by November 1, we would order those right way and should be able to ship in time for December 2015 holidays. This also applies the A2 concept art posters.
So if you are looking for a great Christmas gift for for your children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren or other space enthusiasts for the holidays, you know which rewards will be available.
Your memories transported to the Moon
Thanks to the wonders of digital data, even a symbolic 1 gram allows us to carry the hopes and dreams of millions of people. And that’s a core part of what you get from joining this project - you can send (almost) any digital content you want to the Moon.
What can you send? A cherished love letter. A beautiful video of your children. A song that reminds you of your wedding day. The novel you once wrote but never published. The movies from your honeymoon. The photo of your mother and father. The home movie of the winning goal. A blessing on your family from the heavens. That software you’ve been working on. Artworks you created in college.
We can transport your memories, thoughts and dreams to another world, locking it in the Moon for eternity. And in generations to come, your children and grandchildren will be able to look up at the sky and point to that monument.
Photos of the Earth and the Moon from the Spacecraft
You are sending an actual spacecraft to the Moon, and because of the novel navigation system, we’re going to be able to send back photos – not photos shot by someone else, but photos your own spacecraft took during its voyage.
To commemorate that achievement, the spacecraft will take higher resolution photographs of both the Earth, looking back as we head away, and the Moon as we arrive. And you will get a high quality physical photographic print of each, signed by the team.
Each photo will be 5”x7”, suitable for framing, on high quality photographic stock.
Join the team as a Moonspike Academy Member and get a full vote on key issues as we progress, as well as a dedicated smartphone app.
The exclusive members-only app will allow you to access team updates one full day before the general public, simulate the mission with a range of engine and payload variables – allowing you to show your friends what you are supporting - and most importantly vote on choices the team faces at various key stages of the project.
You will also be invited to join the annual Academy general meeting in person, and get a personal briefing on project progress.
Academy membership comes complete with an Academy membership card and lanyard.
Travel not included.
Join the team for a full week on-site at the factory. You will learn about how we design and build rockets, and get hands-on experience in the factory actually building the Moonspike rocket and spacecraft that will travel to the Moon.
Mooncamp will feature interactive sessions from all the key team members, with full details on the challenges of designing spacecraft, how we design and build engines, pump systems, navigations systems, guidance and control mechanisms.
You’ll get to design your own moon rocket, with guidance from the team; listen in on team design meetings; and even fabricate actual rocket components that will be used on the rocket and spacecraft.
Includes participant t-shirt and Moonspike Academy membership, and runs in the two weeks either side of the annual Academy meeting.
A perfect gift for young people who are interested in knowing more about hands on rocket design and fabrication, and an opportunity to build direct experience that might be useful on your resume.
Travel / accomodation not included. Must be 18 years of age or older.
It’s a simple patch, but comes from a long heritage. Almost every mission into space has its own unique mission patch.
The Moonspike patch tell the story of the journey we are planning from Earth to Moon, and also signals to the world that you’re a supporter of open access to space.
The custom-made 4" Moonspike patch is 100% embroidered with an iron-on backing, perfect for overalls, jackets or backpacks.
Full of vibrant detail, the 1.25” gold-plated lapel button is a specially minted cloisonné pin that shows the Moonspike mission in full color, and discreetly tells the world you are a supporter of open access to space and the Moonspike project.
Each button is made from a custom casting that is 1.2mm thick, and then plated with 10K gold.
Each pin has an 8mm post and a butterfly clutch attachment, to ensure it stays securely on your jacket.
This specially minted 2” Moonspike challenge coin is a unique memorial of the founding of the Moonspike project.
Challenge coins are a very old military and aeronautical tradition, with astronauts using mission coins to win bets - challenges - or make small crewing decisions. Even the President of the United States has his own challenge coins, in case of a “challenge” when on a military base.
We’ve recreated that history in the Moonspike challenge coin. It features two unique high gloss faces showing both the Moonspike mission and lunar spacecraft. The coin is finished to a very high standard, with bezel cut edges and nickel plating for robustness.
Carsten Brandt has created some amazing and gorgeous concept art to illustrate the Moonspike mission, and we are offering superb A2 posters of five of his beautiful creations.
Carsten works as an art director in the video game industry, and his credits include the Watchmen series. He also teaches video game design at the Danish Royal Academy of Fine Arts.
The Moonspike posters will be delivered rolled, rather than folded, to avoid any creasing, and will be printed on high quality stock to ensure they stand the test of time.
Logo on the Rocket
It’s the ultimate. Nothing could be more exclusive than your name on the side of a Moon rocket.
And we have limited spaces, to ensure that backers that choose this reward are highly visible. Logo placement can be selected on the two stages, in two different formats.
It’s expensive, but if you want to get your brand in a premium position on a Moonshot, this is what you are looking for.
A Thruster in Your Name
The Moonspike spacecraft features 8 thrusters, and we want to give them some personality. So we’re letting you choose what to call them.
Name it after your loved ones, your pet, your favorite place, your company – you choose. And from then on, we will refer to that thruster with that name in all designs, publications and documents.
There are some restrictions, but if it’s acceptable it will fly.
Why back us?
While there are probably thousands of people on the planet who have theoretical knowledge of what it takes to build rockets, very few have hands-on experience of building and launching large-scale rocket vehicles.
But the team we have gathered have both professional training with organizations like NASA and hands-on experience building rockets at Copenhagen Suborbitals, a private team of amateur rocket builders who designed and built several very successful rockets on a shoestring budget during the past 7 years.
The vehicles this team have designed and launched include the 9.3m tall, liquid-fueled HEAT-1X, and the actively guided 5.3m Sapphire rocket.
A typical space project will be quite secretive. We’re going to be almost the exact opposite.
Whatever happens, good or bad, we’re going to be open about it, through blogs, videos, and interviews.
Instead of hiding behind a wall, we'll let you see exactly where your support is going on a very regular basis.
50 years ago sending rockets to the Moon was a genuinely amazing thing. The glory and power of the incredible Saturn V rocket ascending from the launch pad with 3 tiny, courageous human astronauts on board inspired and awed a generation of kids.
When we were kids, there was a wondrous awe about space voyages, something that has been missing from the modern era. We want to get back to that feeling, of just doing this thing for the sheer joy of watching it climb into the sky and hopefully, eventually, land on the Moon.
Whether we succeed or fail, this project is intended to be a fascinating, awe-inspiring adventure for all participants, and that includes our supporters.
Many space projects are very ambitious, with vast budget requirements. This is typically driven by trying to launch people or enormous spacecraft with extraordinary goals, and need billions of dollars.
We’ve figured out a way to make a real space mission possible on a reasonable budget by focusing on a relatively simple and highly focused goal – just get something small to the Moon.
We think this will allow us to achieve real results. We know that we will need to raise more money the course of the project, and this Kickstarter helps us get started.
When we thought about what it is we are trying to do, we figure it is more of an engineering task than anything else.
Most of the technology is well documented and understood today; our challenge is making that work with a small team and a micro budget instead of NASA's billions.
Mostly it's about finding smart solutions to classic engineering issues, and that's why the pragmatic, hands-on experience of the team is crucial.
One key aspect that makes Moonspike truly unique and unusual is the track record of the engineering team in designing and building space rockets.
Almost all of our team come from key roles within the Copenhagen Suborbitals project, which has been one of the most successful and widely regarded amateur space projects ever – in fact collectively the Copenhagen Suborbitals team won a prestigious Breitling FAI medal for their extraordinary work on a miniscule budget. Those guys are awesome.
Moonspike is going to continue that heritage, with a budget that gives the team an opportunity to build equally innovative and adventurous space hardware to professional standards.
As we said above in the transparency section, we want to be very open about what we are doing on this project, and this starts today.
We’ve been working hard to develop our rocket and space-craft designs over the past few months and today we are opening up our feasibility study document to the public for you to review the design and understand the considerations we have worked though in the past months.
You can download the complete feasibility study document to review the mission, technology and design here.
We invite you to download these technical specifications today and check our calculations.
We hope you understand that we have made many design decisions and trade-offs to get to this initial design, which has a very specific purpose, so it’s unlikely we will change the design significantly unless we have made some fundamentally erroneous calculations.
Naturally if you spot any mistakes or issues we would be happy to hear from you.
Where will the money go?
Basically we will use your support to get this thing off the ground, literally.
Until now we have spent about 9 months preparing. We raised some seed money to get this far, and now we need the Kickstarter community backing to get us up and running, to the point that we can test some of the most critical sub-systems like turbo pumps and navigation systems, and fire our first engines.
The main goal of this funding will be to get our factory set up, install the core members of staff, and start designing, developing, building and buying components to start actually making the rocketship.
a rocket factory
have already scoped out a candidate for our premises, and we will sign up for a
1-2 year lease with the one that seems to be the best fit it funded.
Equip the workshops
Once the factory is available we will equip it with all the basic machines we need to start producing rockets and spacecraft - lathes, CNC machines, drills, welding tools etc.
Buy materials and components
A large percentage of the money we raise through Kickstarter will go directly into buying materials and components needed to design, develop and actually build the rocket.
We need a focused, dedicated team working on this project. So we want you to know transparently that some of the money will go towards paying staff (and income taxes).
Once we have made initial purchases of equipment and materials, most cost are the basic running costs of a small rocket factory – electricity, internet, rocket fuel, liquid oxygen etc. With the money you generously provide we expect to be able to start taking this project 100% seriously and build some amazing machines. In parallel your support gives us a cash runway to generate the next round of funding from other sources.
Kickstarter is a going to get us off to a great start, and we’re also working on many other avenues of funding to ensure we can fulfil our promises to you and get your data, pictures, movies, stories onto the Moon.
We’re ready to get going – in fact some of our team members have already started work, in the expectation that Kickstarter supporters will be right behind us.
We have spent the past 9 months figuring out if this was actually possible and the numbers all check out.
The only component we are missing is your participation and help. By the end of 2015 we hope to have the rocket factory up and running, and by late next year we want to be able to start firing test engines.
We’d love to have you all along for the ride, and ultimately transport your data to the Moon.
We’re going back to the Moon. Why not join the team today?
Photo credits: NASA, Copenhagen Suborbitals