Carnegie Mellon University
June 14, 2011

Media Advisory: Carnegie Mellon and Astrobotic Technology Unveil Lunar Lander for X Prize Mission

Newly Built Structure Will Undergo Shake Tests at Boeing Facility in California

Contact: Byron Spice  / 412-268-9068 (office) / 412-559-8501 (mobile) /

Event: Western Pennsylvania’s space program takes another significant step as Astrobotic Technology Inc. and Carnegie Mellon University complete structural assembly of the lunar spacecraft that will deliver the Red Rover robot to the moon’s surface in 2014. The structure of the lunar lander, composed of Alcoa aluminum, machined in New Kensington, Pa., and assembled in CMU’s Planetary Robotics Lab, will be shipped on Thursday to a Boeing Co. facility in El Segundo, Calif., for shake testing.

William “Red” Whittaker, CMU professor of robotics and CEO/chief technical officer of Astrobotic Technology, David Gump, president of Astrobotic Technology, and other members of the team will be available to talk about the new lunar lander and their plans for robotic explorations on the moon. Among their goals is to win the Google Lunar X Prize, a $30 million prize for the first privately funded team to send a robot to the moon, travel 500 meters and transmit video, images and data back to Earth.

A unique aspect of the expedition is the inclusion of interdisciplinary arts projects created by students and faculty based in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts. CMU Professor Lowry Burgess is coordinating the historic Moon Arts project.

When: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 15

Where: Carnegie Mellon University’s Planetary Robotics Lab, on the first floor of the Gates and Hillman centers. Parking is available in the Gates Center’s public garage; to reach the garage, take Frew Street to Roberts Drive, a campus road that intersects Frew between Scaife and Porter halls. On Roberts, stay to the left and follow the road down the hill. At the bottom of the hill, the garage will be directly ahead and to your left, at the base of the black-and-silver Gates Center.