Penn State Lunar Lion Team

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Penn State Lunar Lion Team
Type private
Industry aerospace
Founded 2013 (2013)
Headquarters University Park, Pennsylvania, United States
Key people Michael Paul

The Penn State Lunar Lion Team is a team of Penn State students and faculty combined with engineers from the Penn State Applied Research Laboratory that have taken on the Google Lunar X Prize challenge. The team hopes to develop and land their spacecraft, the Lunar Lion on the Moon by 2015.[1] The launch is planned for July.[2] The team is led by Michael Paul, a space systems engineer at Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory.[3]

The team, which is privately funded, has secured its first $2.5 million to get the project going. They expect to raise a significant amount through fund raising and individual contributions through their website.[4]


The Lunar Lion is the spacecraft currently being developed to reach the Moon. The craft is planned to be sent on a commercial launch vehicle which will send it into space and place it on a trajectory to the Moon. It is then expected to make a controlled descent to the lunar surface where it will transmit high-resolution photographic images and video to the mission operations center at Penn State. The craft will then take off and fly a short distance to a second landing site while streaming the event live.

Recently the team has paid a $100,000 launch-reservation fee, although no depart location has yet been set.[5]

Testing and Development[edit]

Phase 0[edit]

At the end of October, 2013 the team successfully finished Phase 0, a series of tests that validated the rocket-testing procedure. The phase included the development of contingency plans, safety plans, and thorough rocket testing procedure. As part of this phase, full rocket firing was simulated and investigated. Test plans must meet the Environmental Health and Safety Standards.[6]

Phase 1[edit]

The team has started phase 1 of the development. Phase 1 includes testing of combustible liquid fuel, custom thrusters tests developed at Penn State, and NASA-provided pencil thruster.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Mission". Lunar Lion. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Nick Azer (2013-11-27). "Moon Roundup: Launch News & Plants on the Moon". Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  3. ^ "THE TEAM". Lunar Lion. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Lunar Lion team leader gives mission update to trustees". Penn State News. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Snyder, Susan. "Penn State racing to be the first college on the moon". Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Cappelli, Kathy. "Lunar lions complete first phase of rocket testing". The Daily Collegian. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Lunar lions complete first phase of rocket testing". The Daily Collegian (Penn State)|The Daily Collegian. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 

External links[edit]