Thursday, a company called Golden Spike confirmed swirling rumors that it intends to land humans on the surface of the moon by the year 2020. It may sound like pie-in-the-sky, but this is no fly-by-night outfit. They are staffed with some of the most accomplished engineers and mission planners to ever turn dreams into reality, including Dr. Alan Stern (interviewed here), former Apollo launch director Gerry Griffin and, well, some others:
The board includes former NASA engineers, astronauts and managers – including the highly respected former Space Shuttle Program (SSP) manager Wayne Hale, along with commercial space notables, such as former SpaceX program manager for the Dragon spacecraft, Max Vozoff. The company’s board of advisors also includes Newt Gingrich, former US Speaker of the House of Representatives, who cited his interest in a lunar base during his campaign as a US presidential candidate.OK, that's one name that may not be too popular around these parts. But there is no shortage of smart progressives onboard with this, like former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who was quoted today, "Golden Spike’s plan to implement human lunar expeditions for nations and individuals across the world is an exciting new development that I am proud to be a part of. President Kennedy said at the outset of Project Apollo, “Now it is time to take longer strides—time for a great new American enterprise.” With Golden Spike, those words ring true half a century later in a whole new way.”
Golden Spike, named after the symbolic railroad spike that nailed together the east and west coasts of America over a century ago, joins a growing number of privately held concerns hoping to kickstart the U.S. space exploration effort like SpaceX, XCOR and Planetary Resources. The nascent industry, referred to collectively as NewSpace, hopes to greatly expand access to low earth orbit and beyond in this decade, in large part by dramatically lowering the cost of ground to orbit rockets, spacecraft and related systems.