Golden Spike to Crowdsource $240,000 for Lunar Marketing Campaign

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According to Parbolic Arc, the Golden Spike Company, a private group that proposes to launch commercial flights to the moon, is launching a crowdsourcing campaign that is part fund raiser and part public relations stunt.

Golden Spike wants to raise $240,000

Golden Spike, through the crowdsourcing site Indiegogo, is launching a campaign to raise $240,000, one dollar for every mile between the Earth and moon. The purpose of the fund-raiser is to involve the public in a marketing campaign that will raise awareness of the company's intent to send people to the lunar surface for the first time in decades, only this time commercially. "Most directly, the campaign will enable us to start to create interactive media products, apps, and an Olympics-movement style membership program to engage kids and adults in exciting, modern ways, to be insiders in the future exploration of the moon by people."

Golden Spike's private Apollo program

At the time of its announcement in December, the Golden Spike Company announced an ambitious enterprise to land two people on the moon by 2020, in effect repeating President John F. Kennedy's man on the moon "by the end of this decade" in 1961, according to NASASpaceFlight.com. While the company has a number of former NASA and commercial space notables involved in it, the estimated cost of the first moon landing -- $7 billion to $8 billion -- is daunting. The price tag includes three test flights of its spacecraft, starting in 2017, before the manned lunar landing in 2020. The plan will use as much as possible hardware that is commercially available or soon will be. Nevertheless, a lunar lander will have to be developed. NASASpaceFlight.com reported that Golden Spike has contracted with Northrop Grumman, the designing of the original Apollo lunar module, to work on their lunar lander.

Skepticism about Golden Spike

A commercial enterprise as ambitious as Golden's Spike private people to the moon program has met with a little bit of skepticism. Jeff Foust, writing in The Space Review, suggests that the initial cost of developing the lunar architecture may be a show-stopper. Golden Spike's initial market would seem to be national space agencies which, while unable to mount crewed lunar expeditions on their own, might be tempted to contract with the company to fly their astronauts to the moon and back. Golden Spike intends to raise the bulk of the $7 billion plus by lining up customers in advance, at about $1.5 billion per lunar flight with two astronauts. That suggests that the company would need to contract with five customers in advance before it can proceed, a daunting bit of marketing.

Mark R. Whittington is the author of Children of Apollo and The Last Moonwalker. He has written on space subjects for a variety of periodicals, including The Houston Chronicle, The Washington Post, USA Today, the L.A. Times, and The Weekly Standard.

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