Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Team Phoenicia Announces Agreement with Space Exploration Engineering for Space Traffic Control Services

Menlo Park, CA. – Dec 9, 2013 – Team Phoenicia LLC, a space payload services provider, announced today an agreement with Space Exploration Engineering Corporation of Friday Harbor, WA to provide “space traffic control” for the multiple spacecraft to be launched on the 2015 Phoenicia-1 launch.

The Phoenicia-1 launch will be one of the most complex missions ever attempted. With multiple spacecraft simultaneously heading to the Moon - led by PennState's Lunar Lion Google Lunar XPRIZE team's lander - each of these spacecraft will require simultaneous tracking and maneuver planning, which requires shared ground tracking resources and cooperative collision avoidance. This requires a system similar to Air Traffic Control used for commercial aviation. Space Exploration Engineering (SEE) will provide “space traffic control” for the Phoenicia-1 launch.

“The Phoenicia-1 Mission will be ground-breaking. With Penn State’s Lunar Lion Google Lunar XPRIZE team and more, Phoenicia-1 will set the stage for commercial missions beyond Earth orbit, the Moon, and potentially interplanetary space,” said Baird. “SEE’s capabilities will help ensure mission success.”

Team Phoenicia will provide launch opportunities to Pennsylvania State University’s Lunar Lion Google Lunar X PRIZE team, California Polytechnical University at San Luis Obispo, Tyvak Nanosatellite Systems and Spaceflight Services, Inc. on the Phoenicia-1 (P-1) mission using a commercial domestic launch vehicle. The launch will carry over twenty small satellite payloads and potentially up to 75 cubesat payloads. Many of these payloads will be released in a sun-synchronous, polar Earth orbit, and several additional payloads will continue to the Moon.

SEE will design, create and manage a Space Traffic Control center for this mission using a commercial ground station, through which all trajectory planning, deployments, orbit determination and maneuvers will be planned and coordinated. This capability will then be available for subsequent missions in Earth orbit and beyond.

SEE is a partnership of aerospace professionals with expertise in mission design, operations and spaceflight dynamics. SEE has decades of experience in spaceflight operations from sun-synch, rendezvous, re-entry, lunar, libration-point and deep space trajectories.

"With so many years of experience, there are few comparable in the commercial market to what SEE brings to the table for this mission. Mike Loucks and his associates are some of the best in the business." stated William Baird, CEO of Team Phoenicia. "As our alliance for space exploration and development grows, SEE brings to the table the experience from IBEX, LADEE and other missions to help plan and execute this mission. The new capabilities SEE is bringing online for the Phoenicia-1 mission will enable missions for years to come. We are thrilled to be the first to use this new capability."

“The Phoenicia-1 mission is a very exciting opportunity for us.” said Loucks, President of SEE. “Our previous experiences with flight dynamics and control on IBEX and LADEE have put us in a unique position to fly commercial deep space and lunar missions. The experience we gain on this mission will dovetail nicely into our future goals as well, and position us to be leaders in commercial deep space. Our Space Traffic Control system will be based on commercial software, and will enable cubesats and other secondary payloads to fly with the same type of precision that we used to put LADEE in lunar orbit.”

Team Phoenicia is an orbital payload broker and service provider. Founded in 2007, Team Phoenicia entered the spacecraft payload manifesting market in 2010 with the purpose of making space access more routine for small spacecraft. Team Phoenicia is headquartered in Menlo Park, California.

The Phoenicia -1 launch will be scheduled for the 4th quarter of 2015.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Don't think PennState is the only thing in the oven.  More very, very soon.

And an explanation as to why we withdrew from the GLXP.

Monday, November 25, 2013

PennState's Position in the Phoenicia Legion II Lunar Payload Rack

PennState/Team Phoenicia Graphic 1

The Roar of the Lion Changes all

November 25, 2013

Roaring to the Moon, Lunar Lion Pays Launch Reservation Fee 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Lunar Lion, a Moon lander designed and built by the Penn State Lunar Lion team, the only university-led team in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition, will be sent into space as part of a multiple spacecraft effort coordinated by a new player in the space industry, Team Phoenicia LLC, of Menlo Park, Calif.

The Lunar Lion team's fully refundable launch reservation fee has been paid to Phoenicia.

"Phoenicia has brought together a complementary set of payloads, filling a need in the industry," said Michael Paul, director of space systems initiatives at Penn State's Applied Research Lab.

Paul, who leads Penn State's team of researchers and students on the Lunar Lion mission, pointed out that this is a significant milestone for the project.

"This gives us the advantage of clear program planning and clear fundraising goals," he said. "It also means that the clock is ticking toward those goals."

Funding for the Lunar Lion mission, 90 percent of which must be derived from private sources according to competition rules, is coming through a mix of individual gifts and corporate support while leveraging existing assets at Penn State.

Phoenicia President William Baird said he spent many years seeking a launch opportunity as a secondary payload for his own team's entry into the Google Lunar XPRIZE. He realized secondary payloads were overly restricted and that today's payloads need more flexible options.

Those options were not yet available, so Phoenicia changed course, exiting the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition and choosing to fill this niche in the growing array of space launch services.

"The fundamental problem with launching to space is the cost of entry for new companies in the aerospace field," said Baird. "A small launch vehicle costs as much as $10 million, and larger ones range from $60 to $120 million. Both these prices leave out additional processing costs which, when pulled together, represent a significant barrier to entry. Another model was and is needed. We believe, through aggregating payloads, we have found that model."

Under terms of an agreement between the parties, Phoenicia will contract with a launch vehicle provider and provide systems integration services for a launch to be shared by several spacecraft, the largest of which being the Lunar Lion.

Additionally, Phoenicia is using a SHERPA, built by Spaceflight Inc., to accommodate additional secondary payloads to maximize the launch vehicle's full capacity. SHERPA, developed by Spaceflight's sister company, Andrews Space, accommodates payloads up to 660 pounds on each of five available ports, includes a propulsion system and links other subsystems to operate as both a hosted payload platform and an in-space maneuvering stage. Spaceflight will immediately make available ports on SHERPA to bring additional spacecraft to low earth orbit and a trans-lunar injection orbit.

"The cost saved by committing to this launch is considerable," said Paul. "We initially used the listed cost of an entire launch vehicle in our fundraising targets and mission budget projections. Now we only have to target a fraction of that cost for launch and can apply our energy and funding to other areas of the mission."

Penn State is taking advantage of this unique opportunity to achieve a lunar trajectory without having to bear the full cost of the launch vehicle.

"While the Lunar Lion is the largest spacecraft on this launch, it will be accompanied by several mid-sized Earth satellites that will be placed in low Earth orbit," said Baird. "Once those customers' spacecraft have been released, the Lunar Lion will be pushed on to its lunar-intercept trajectory, accompanied by other payloads, including several CubeSats."

Those CubeSats, each about 2 pounds and 4 inches on a side, are built jointly by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems LLC and California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo. The Tyvak-Cal-Poly CubeSats will be deployed from the launch vehicle using the Phoenicia Lunar Payload Delivery Rack.

The Google Lunar XPRIZE will be awarded to the first privately funded team to land a spacecraft on the Moon, move it 500 meters, and send back video, images and data before the end of 2015. No spacecraft has landed on the Moon since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 landed Aug. 22, 1976. To date, only spacecraft built by the Soviet Union and the United States have landed on the Moon, 19 in total between 1966 and 1976. The winner of the Google Lunar XPRIZE will be the first privately funded spacecraft to land on the Moon.

Andrea Elyse Messer (814) 865-9481 aem1@psu.edu

About Penn State Lunar Lion

The Penn State Lunar Lion team is the only university-led team competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, with the goal of executing the first privately-funded mission to the surface of the Moon while creating a new generation of leaders for a new era in space exploration. More than 80 students, guided by Penn State faculty and staff, as well as professionals from a host of companies, is responsible for the design, construction, testing, and operation of the Lunar Lion, which will land on the Moon, take off and land more than 500 meters from its original landing site, and send video, images, and data back to Earth. For the future, for the glory, for all … the time is now! Visit us on the web at www.lunarlion.psu.edu and follow @lunarlionpsu

About Team Phoenicia LLC

Team Phoenicia is an orbital payload manifesting company. Team Phoenicia's first payload, Phoenicia-1, will be flying in 4Q2015. Team Phoenicia was founded in 2007 as to compete in the Google Lunar XPRIZE and evolved into the manifesting market when attempts at finding a ride as a secondary payload were unsuccessful for its competition bid. Team Phoenicia is headquartered in Menlo Park, California. About Spaceflight

Spaceflight Inc. - 

The Space Logistics Company- provides frequent, cost effective, and routine access to space for deployed and hosted payloads. Spaceflight specializes in the launch of CubeSats, nanosatellites and microsatellites with mass between 1 kg and 300 kg. Through its global network of launch vehicle providers, Spaceflight can deploy payloads to low Earth orbit, the Moon, and beyond. Visit us on the web at www.spaceflightservices.com and follow @spaceflightinc

Wednesday, May 29, 2013