OpenLuna Mission - Returning Mankind to the Moon Through Private Enterprise 
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OpenLuna Mission - Returning Mankind to the Moon Through Private Enterprise

OpenLuna Mission - Returning Mankind to the Moon Through Private Enterprise

By: Donna Hancock

OpenLuna Mission

Mission Plan

The OpenLuna Foundation aims to return mankind to the moon through private enterprise. Initial goals focus on a stepped program of robotic missions coupled with extensive public relations and outreach. Following these purely robotic missions, a short series of manned missions will construct a small, approximately 8 person outpost based on a location scouted by the robotic missions. This outpost will be open for anyone's use (private individuals to government agencies), provided they respect our ethical conduct and heritage policies. Most of the work on the missions is being done on the wiki.

The OpenLuna Foundation takes a unique approach in that:

All aspects of the mission plan and hardware will be open source. This information will be publicly available and community support and involvement will be actively pursued and welcomed. Special efforts will be made to involve students, educational facilities, and amateur space enthusiasts. A strong media presence will be a priority. The entertainment and educational potential of the mission will be exploited to allow the mission to reach the maximum number of people possible. This furthers the educational potential of the mission, provides publicity for sponsors (which will encourage support for future missions), and demonstrates to people that this is possible in the present and inspires the next generation to continue and exceed these mission goals. Mission hardware will be light and geared toward continuity from one mission to future missions. This will save costs and simplify the mission and hardware development. Superfluous hardware will be removed from missions and each component will be made in the lightest fashion possible. This may create initial complications, but it will balance out over the span of the program. Risk levels will be assessed and considered to balance risk with the cost of safety to the ability of the mission to continue forward. Much like an Alpine expedition, moderate risks will be acceptable in favor of exploration. Access to all scientific data and acceptance of outside research proposals will be encouraged.

Phase one - "Scout" class mission
Multiple small scout rovers, delivered by a single lander. The lander will "hop" around to deposit the rovers, similar to an upside down candy-dispenser. There will be two of these lander/rover combinations in the initial launch, one being left in orbit until the results from the first landed unit are analyzed. Based on determinations from the Science Team, the second lander will either land at a secondary search location, and distribute it's rovers there, or distribute rovers around the existing sites for greater detail. A communications satellite will be placed in orbit around the moon with this launch.

Phase two - "Boomerang" class sample return mission
The locations for these sample return missions will be determined by the rovers from Scout class missions. We plan for 180-200kg of samples returned and a rover that can loiter indefinitely "prospecting" and gathering further information. The landing is planned for the southern pole. We will be looking for water, He-3, and a good location for a future shelter and outpost. Land will be "claimed" for the project (as provided for by international law and treaty, see growing and evolving discussion of lunar and other non-Earthly land ownership debates/policies). Place at minimum one communications satellite in orbit with the first launch. At least two of these missions are planned to give a good spread of target areas and rigorously test the technology. Rock samples will be returned to the University of Western Ontario, CPSX and, after being safely cleared, then distributed to those who requested them or auctioned. Profits from this and other income opportunities will be used to fund the next mission. Media opportunities will include auctioning samples, contests to include students at various levels, naming rights as appropriate, documentary rights, etc.

Phase three - "Pathfinder" class mission
Presuming satisfactory site characteristics, tests, and technology development, this mission will be manned. A person with a lunar "tent" as a safety stop will stay as long as safely feasible, testing technology and preparing the site for future construction. This first manned lander will be named "Tranquility" in honor of Apollo 11 (and Firefly/Serenity). Formal announcement of outpost construction plans for Phase four. Development of licensed merchandise, mock and real space/surface suits, other things as they are thought of.

Phase four - "Explorer" class mission
Launch up to three more astronauts (as many as possible given technology and supplies). Bring shelter materials as determined by Phase three and spend approximately one to three days building an outpost. If feasible and safe, leave two volunteers on the surface.

Phase five - "Shakedown" mission
Launch up to five more astronauts (as many as possible given technology and supplies). Bring shelter materials as determined by Phase four and spend as much as two weeks testing every system by use in the outpost. If feasible and safe, leave a volunteer on the surface. Announce the completion of the outpost and offer reservations and use to NASA, ESA, JAXA, other space agencies, and private individuals and organizations.

Further Plans

Develop mining, a scientific outpost, in-situ life support as quickly as possible. We will start looking at better surface transport, and a secondary site for a second or third outpost, preferably on the far side for a telescope, or lava tube sites. Work with a launch provider to improve launch and landing capabilities. Work on a capsule to increase crew comfort. Primary concerns will be given to making the facilities self sufficient, developing infrastructure to further exploration, and Lunar utilization, and working to further educate and inspire the general population.
OpenLuna Team Members

Paul Graham, President and Chairman of the Board:

Paul  worked as an Engineer for the Mars Society's Mission Support since the FMARS 2002 season, and was the  Engineering Team Coordinator until 2009. Paul was also on the 4 Frontiers Generation II Mars Settlement Programming team as a dual division head (Building Trades & Mars Suits.) He attended Colorado School of Mines where he studied Engineering Physics, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering as a triple major. He has worked in every building trade, including several years as a plumber, a tinner and an electrician, has extensive RV experience from construction, repair, refitting and living and even spent a few days working on the ARES rover.

Currently he is the CEO of Kepler Shipyards, an aerospace design and manufacturing firm currently working on launch vehicle development & New Frontiers Technologies, who are manufacturing and developing terrestrial applications for pressurized habitat, suit and other space technology, and Alpine Systems Engineering, a Linux/Unix consulting and Web/e-mail hosting company where he spends most of his time building and managing servers and figuring new and creative ways to use or abuse computers and electronic hardware. He is currently working on several Embedded controller real time telemetry and streaming media projects. He has also worked with developing rural broadband using several extreme long-range wireless technologies. His other interests include writing (He is currently writing a novel, a movie script, and a childrens story having several published short stories and non-fiction magazine articles), photography, videography, theater, acting, mountaineering, hiking and other outdoor activities, SCUBA diving, and he is an amateur radio operator (KC0IFZ).
Interview Ernest Hancock did with Paul Graham on The Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock radio show on September 21st, 2012 (Video):

Debi-Lee Wilkinson, VP of Membership and Development and board member:

Her resume spans degrees in physics to fund raising committees. The short list of her skills is: writer, tutor, computer geek and all around rocket scientist. She has co-founded/helped launch several space working groups. She enjoys craft projects which is art made from disparate pieces of material. Similarly, her vision for Open Luna membership is merging people from all walks of life for a collage approach to colonizing space starting with our nearest neighbor, the moon. She is actively forming membership and development teams. You may email her your resume for consideration on one of her teams. The only minimum qualification is ample courage. 

Rick Reeser, Secretary and Treasurer and board member
Hall Fulton, board member
Marketing Materials, Artist Kelly Sands:

Kelley Sands is the owner of Kelley Design, where he professionally creates logos and many other types of graphic design. Kelley has earned an Associate Arts Degree in Graphic Design and has a self awarded Masters Degree in coming up with creative ideas for clients since 1986. Since there is no rest for the creative mind, He also creates mosaic tile furniture, sketches and paints in fine arts. Kelley has been a Professional Artist in Advertising and Design since 1986 and has been keeping up with the ever growing technology of new creative software and the internet. "I started with pen and ink, T-squares and triangles, paint and canvas, and now I'm dealing with mega pixels and mega bytes, search engines and internet links, servers and external hard drives."

Kelley is working on the OpenLuna Project with the rest of the team and mainly on the graphic design and illustrations supporting marketing efforts, the visual presentations and the website. Kelley is also an amateur radio operator (KC0IFY).

"I winter camp without a tent, snow board, mountain bike, kayak, climb, rappel, hunt, occasionally make contacts with ham radio, teach firearms safety and combat tactics, and still dress up for Halloween. I'm not a kid anymore but I'm still young at heart and still thrive on adventure and creativity."

Launch the Launch on Fundageek  (Crowdfunding for Innovation):

The Pitch

The team will compete in a satellite launch contest where the core team members will be The OpenLuna Foundation leaders.  Through mutual collaboration (a cornerstone of the organization) the team has access to tested rocket technologies and facilities at a cost that makes this team a front runner in this Nano Satellite Launch Challenge.  They need a bit of funds to get their proverbial ducks in a row to organize the effort. The Nano-Satellite Launch contest is one of the latest NASA Centennial Challenge contests designed to rapidly advance the state of space flight technology.  The NASA web link is The contest objective is to launch two small satellite into Earth's Orbit within a week.  The nano satellite design is still in progress but will include, instead of radio beeping, a audio broadcast to prove the satellite makes it all the way around the globe.  Supporter's voices will make up part of the audio stream in what we call a space broadcast shout-out.  For a mere $100 contribution your voice could be included.


Any enduring species expends a small part of its collective energy to expand by adopting new territory/habitat.  If this project excites you it is because you are part of the human population that seeks expansion.  NASA and Space Florida have offered this contest to facilitate a revolution in launch costs that will fuel the existing new-space industry.  We are taking it oSignature Diorama for OpenLunane step farther and, in the process, bring this booming, behind-the-scenes industry to the public's attention with a high profile launch that will attract large sponsors as the primary means to fund this project. Additionally, we will pitch having a film crew follow the team for a reality television show as another revenue stream for the team members.  And your up-front support of this team makes you a part of this exciting effort.  As exciting as this contest is, we won't be stopping here. Luna in OpenLuna is because we have our sights on the moon and by winning the award and the publicity that goes with it, this will be the beginning for this team, not the end.  By bursting the OpenLuna program forward we will go where no other open source program has gone.  

What We Need & What You Get

We need $15K to turn on the lights.  The first half will be to bring the team together for an initial meeting while the remaining is to begin the sponsorship program efforts.  If this campaign generates more than our requested amount, the additional funds will be used to begin the project right off the bat, else this campaign may be followed by other crowd funding campaigns but primarily will be funded by corporate sponsorship (like a race car).  The more people that we can show that are interested and watching the more successful that will be so your up-front support is critical.  This campaign supports the organizational step to get us quickly to the point of contacting large contributors.  By funding us now you can start us out of the gates with a bang.  

Rewards range from honorable mention on our website followed by promotional and complementary membership in OpenLuna with pins or mission patches up to touring our development range and a visit during a rocket engine test for larger donations.  Any donation over $100 gets your voice shout-out broadcast from space.  For donations over $5000, donors are eligible to be the first shout-outs sent from the orbiting nano-satellite to be heard all over the world.  The image to the right is a previous names in space promotion.

Other Ways You Can Help

Let your friends know you are supporting this campaign and see this project lift off.

Remember when making contributions via Paypal that transfers between Paypal accounts are commission free.  And paypal will process your credit card without making a paypal account.

More Links

You can find a couple more of the rocket videos at Debi-Lee's youtube playlist Click here for it: Launch the Launch. is the official contest site. Paul Graham giving the closing Plenary at the University of Toronto Space Development Conference. The topic is an introduction to, and a technology demonstration of two NASA mini-rovers that the students were able to remotely drive. is the main membership registration site for OpenLuna.  Paul Graham on the space show July 29, 2012.  (about 15 minutes in)
Reprinted from OpenLuna.Org

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