Since 2018, Open Lunar has evaluated the feasibility of launching a series of small, inexpensive lunar landers capable of conducting lunar resource surveys. We took an iterative approach, outlining a plan to launch a cubesat demonstration of avionics followed by a lunar orbiter and culminating in a series of attempted landings. We spent time laying the groundwork for these missions architectures: negotiating launch prices, designing and redesigning mission architecture, hiring the right engineers, specifying and contracting biprop thruster development, formulating an avionics design, and setting up our lab and engineering software systems.
We believe we have validated a solid plan to put an orbiter around the Moon within approximately 2 years, and have begun detailed electrical and mechanical design. To share as much as we can of this effort, we’re releasing some documentation. The map below contains ten or so documents with information on our mission architecture, organizational setup, and some detailed designs for a cubesat-scale cold gas thruster we began to develop as a result of being unable to find a commercial vendor willing to provide a suitable solution.
We hope that people across the lunar development community can make good use of these documents, and if you’d like to learn more about how we arrived at our lunar mission architecture and the steps and missteps we made, please reach out. As for our future plans with this mission series, we are currently more focused on public goods and surface infrastructure, as the marketplace of landers and diversity of TLI transport options has vastly improved since Q1 2018.