European Engineer Plans Independent Moon Mission

Can the newest crazy Kickstarter campaign prove anyone can land on the moon?

Kickstarter is a dichotomy. It is either a money dumpster where ideas go to die or a provider of much needed financial boosts, which sometimes exceed expectations.

Testing his luck, European engineer and entrepreneur, Chris Larmour, is looking to raise $1 million to begin development on a rocket and spacecraft to land on the moon.

Larmour claims the idea came to him after watching videos of high-altitude balloon fights. “I wondered if we could do something different, and the first thing that came into my head was, ‘How hard could it be to get to the moon these days?’”

This reporter would imagine it would be quite difficult, considering there are still developed nations that haven’t landed on the moon.

None the less, Larmour’s Britain-based company, Moonspike, with an engineering team in Copenhagen, plans to develop a three-stage rocket to launch a 157 kg (346 lb.) spacecraft, which will land on the surface of the moon.

Preliminary design of the Moonspike rocket. (Image courtesy of Moonspike.)

Preliminary design of the Moonspike rocket. (Image courtesy of Moonspike.)

The craft’s payload will consist of a flash drive containing images and other data provided by the campaign’s backers.

“The final payload is the physical Moonspike, a small planetary penetrator holding the protected payload data,” Moonspike’s website reads.

Co-founder of Moonspike, Kristian von Bengtson, is a space capsule designer with Copenhagen Suborbitals, which is attempting to build a one-person suborbital rocket, independent of the Moonspike project. “You have to look at it as some kind of engineering adventure,” he said.

An adventure it would certainly be. The Kickstarter’s goal of £600,000 (US$910,000) is not exactly modest, and relying on crowdfunding to reach it will not be easy.

The funding will be used to develop key subsystems of the spacecraft and launch vehicle, including rocket tests over the next year.

In the end, the campaign’s success will all come down to public whim — fitting, as the idea was just as whimsical.

“We need to build a rocket to prove to ourselves and others that this can or cannot be done by a small, dedicated group of people,” Larmour said. “We don’t have a Plan B. It’s all or nothing. We’re hopeful that we’ll get a very good response.”

Von Bengtson adds, “We’re not trying to beat SpaceX, but you never know where this will take us. It might lead to other missions later on.”

Promising transparency, the Moonspike team currently doesn’t know when the mission will launch as they wish to avoid over-promising. “It will be several years, to be sure, but I can’t be more precise,” Larmour said.

To learn more about the Moonspike team, visit and visit their resources page for CAD drawings if you are interested to join in the fun. Check out their Kickstarter page here.