Lunar Commercial Communications

Next week, I'll be flying over to the West Coast of the USA to visit our friends at Google. While I'm there, though, I hope to pop down the road to Santa Clara to attend the 3rd Lunar Commercial Communications Workshop. Judging from the online overview, it looks like I won't be the only Google Lunar X PRIZE-related person there, as Fred Bourgeois of team FREDNET will be there, along with Steve Durst of the International Lunar Observatory Association, a customer of Odyssey Moon.

First of all, how cool is it that there is a Lunar Commercial Communications Workshop? Secondly, how cool is it that this is their third session? This will be the first one I'm attending in person, though we did have a shadow representative attend the previous one (which was held shortly before we announced the Google Lunar X PRIZE).

I'm sure that the existence of our prize makes life more exciting for the companies and individuals who attend these workshops (and I'm therefore hoping to do so team recruitment there). But I'm sure that the excitement level kicked up another notch again last week, when NASA released a Request for Information about commercial lunar communications. I know there has been some word floating about here and there (including at previous iterations of this conference) about the potential benefits of a hypothethical future Lunar COTS, and a number of people have commented that Lunar communications would be a great subject for a future Lunar COTS (as would Lunar transportation). Though this specific RFI comes out of the Space Operations Mission Directorate, I know the folks in the various COTS-relevant offices at NASA HQ and at the field centers will be paying close attention to the results.

The RFI in turn links to this collection of presentations and papers, which has some interesting nuggets buried within.

When we announced the Google Lunar X PRIZE, one of our fondest hopes was that the space agencies of the world would sit up and take notice--and figure out how to use the prize and the teams competing for it to the agencies' advantage (something I discussed in with the Mahalo Daily folks in an add-on video). Major kudos to the forward-thinking folks within NASA who are already looking at this stuff and considering in a very realistic and practical matter how NASA can benefit from private lunar industry in the short term and the long term.

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