Moonspike turns to Kickstarter for first crowdfunded Moon rocket

A new Kickstarter campaign has just launched, called Project Moonspike, that is looking to raise funds to build the first crowdfunded rocket to be sent to the moon. Moonspike, a group of independent rocket engineers, are hoping to raise £600,000 (about $1 million) over the next 30 days, which will help fund their rocket with a goal of sending a 1-gram payload to the surface of the Moon. While previous Kickstarters, such as Lunar Mission One, have raised funds for their own Moon missions, Moonspike will be the first to build their own rocket, instead of relying on something pre-made.

Moonspike explains that their mission isn't about conducting any new scientific research, but rather proving that their rocket built from scratch can successfully launch and reach its destination. That payload? It's a spike-shaped, radiation-shielded vault that will carry data from the Kickstarter backers, and is intended to lodge in the surface of the Moon.

Moonspike is co-founded by entrepreneur Chris Larmour and Kristian von Bengston, a former spacecraft designer with the Denmark-based non-profit Copenhagen Suborbitals. The pair say the original inspiration for the mission was all the recent videos of balloons carrying cameras up into space.

As Larmour puts it: "I thought what's the next step after a balloon? How hard can it really be to go to the Moon?" While Von Bengston adds: "We wanted to do this with the smallest task attached to it. Just 1 metric gram to the Moon, and then we'll see where we can go from there."

The concept design they've come up with involves a three-stage rocket that weighs 22 tons and is over 77 feet tall, with most of the weight being the necessary liquid fuel. Moospike says they have no interest in making money off their rocket design, and they also promise complete transparency with their mission. To back that claim up, they've shared their rocket's design specs as well as the project's feasibility study.

Of course, Moonspike recognizes that $1 million isn't nearly enough to fund the entire launch, and they say the crowdfunding campaign is just a start. They expect to make up the rest of funding with private donations. Plus, when it comes to all the logistics and planning, they admit there are still many unknowns, including a timeline and firm launch date. However, Larmour and Von Bengston aren't letting that deter them, and Kickstarter backers will be the first to learn about these kind of details as they're decided.

SOURCE Moonspike / Kickstarter