The MILO Institute aims at speed and cost control, seeking to perform missions within five years that cost $200 million or less. The organization was built around the premise that many worthwhile space science missions don’t receive the government backing they need to reach orbit
Fremont, CA: The nonprofit MILO Institute has revealed names of some of the governments and universities across the world signing onto its plan of sharing the costs of deep space science missions across multiple organizations. The MILO Institute, unveiled at the 2018 International Astronautical Congress in Bremen Germany, is a research collaborative led by Arizona State University with support from Lockheed Martin and Lockheed Martin subsidiary GEOShare.
The organization was built around the premise that many worthwhile space science missions don’t receive the government backing they need to reach orbit. “There is more compelling space science that should be getting done, that needs to get done but is simply not getting done,” said GEOShare CEO Lon Levin. MILO Institute executive director and CEO of the ASU Research Enterprise (ASURE) David Thomas believes that if organizations pool their resources, more missions could fly and more engineers, scientists and students would have opportunities to participate.
Also, the MILO Institute aims at speed and cost control, seeking to perform missions within five years that cost $200 million or less. "A scientific panel will ensure MILO Institute missions perform decadal level science," said Levin. The lunar missions have been scheduled to fly alongside NASA payloads. In case there is enough payload, then the mission could fly alone on the McCandless Lunar Lander. This would provide an opportunity for MILO Institute members to perform compelling science on the surface of the moon at a small fraction of the traditional mission cost.
Lockheed Martin was one among the nine countries selected by NASA last year in the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program to bid on task orders to send payloads to the lunar surface. However, Lockheed Martin is yet to get any task order of nature. Besides, the Milo Institute will be inviting members to perform close flybys of asteroids and comets in a mission called NEOShare and travel to Apophis, before 2029 when the asteroid comes within 30,000 kilometers of Earth's surface.