Lunar Missions

Explore the Moon

Interorbital Systems (IOS) is planning a series of missions to the Moon that will utilize two variants of our N36 launch vehicle. The standard N36 rocket can deliver a maximum of 32-kg to the surface of the Moon, while an upgraded variant--the N36B--can deliver a maximum of 100-kg to the lunar surface.

The $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE (GLXP) will be awarded to the first privately funded teams to build robots that successfully land on the lunar surface, explore the Moon by moving at least 500 meters (~1/3 of a mile), and return high-definition video and imagery. Interorbital Systems serves in a dual capacity as both teammember and as launch provider for GLXP Team SYNERGY MOON. A 36-module version of the NEPTUNE rocket series, the (N36), will loft the team's rover and lander on a lunar-direct trajectory to soft-land on the surface of the Moon. Interorbital is also under contract to launch test payloads on its N5 or N7 orbital rocket for several other GLXP teams including Euroluna's 2-U CubeSat 'Romit I' ion propulsion experiment; Canada's Plan B CubeSat; SYNERGY MOON's own 3-U CubeSat, carrying the Tesla Telescope, and its TubeSat' lofting Astronomska Udruga Vidulini comms units and electronics; and Part-Time Scientists/Fluid&Reason's 'FRETs-1' TubeSat, powered by Wes Faler's ion engine.


Mission_1: Team SYNERGY MOON's GLXP Project

Mission_2: Lunar Sample Return Project

A lunar sample return mission is currently in development at Interorbital Systems (IOS). The mission’s primary hardware component is the Robotic Interplanetary Prospector Excavator and Retriever, or the RIPPER. RIPPER is an autonomous system, designed to soft-land on the moon or any other body in the Solar System, select surface samples, and then excavate and retrieve them for return to Earth. These off-world samples will be the rarest minerals on Earth, and will be made available to research institutions and private collectors at a fair price. Only a small quantity of lunar material (4.0-lbs or 1.8-Kg) will be brought back to Earth by the RIPPER Spacecraft. The demand for this extremely rare material will be enormous, even at its estimated value of more than $4.5 million per pound ($10,000 per gram).

An Opportunity To Own a Sample of the Rarest Material on Earth!

Although the actual volume of a gram or more of material will depend on the density of the material at the Lunar landing site, the approximate volumes of the Lunar material are represented at your right.

The 10% deposit price is $750.00 per gram. Payment can be made by bank transfer or by check sent to the address at the bottom of this page. Contact IOS for bank transfer information. Please specify the number of grams you wish to purchase.

Please contact IOS by phone or email if you have any questions.


IOS is currently offering advance sales of the lunar material at a 25% cost reduction, or $3.375 million per pound or $7,500 per gram. Buyers can secure lunar material at this reduced price by placing a 10% deposit on their desired quantity before the lunar mission begins. Final payment will be due on delivery. Advance buyers will receive a certificate of sale after the transaction. Once their lunar sample is safely returned to Earth and full payment is secured, the buyer will receive the following:

-- The Lunar Sample
-- An assay of the sample (if requested)
-- A Moon map showing the location where the sample was retrieved
-- A close-up photo of the lunar surface showing the exact source point of the sample
-- A complete Lunar Sample Return Mission package, with photos and a DVD of the rocket, the launch, the RIPPER, and the Lunar Landing Site.

The Value of Lunar Material

Lunar material is valuable on many levels. Since the samples will be maintained in a vacuum, they will be invaluable to researchers investigating lunar science (geology, Helium-3, etc.). Non-scientists or collectors can display or mount their samples, or have their samples incorporated into unique jewelry. At current market rates, Moon rocks are far more valuable than diamonds.

Most of the lunar material on Earth was brought back from the Moon by the six manned Apollo missions (842 Lbs = 382 Kg), with 300 grams brought back by the Soviet unmanned lunar sample return missions. The majority of the Apollo samples are locked away in NASA facilities and are not for sale to the general public. Only a few grams of the Soviet samples have been sold to the public or given away to various nations and world leaders.

The Soviets performed the last lunar sample return mission with Luna 24 in August of 1976.

At present, most of the commercially available lunar material are rare lunar meteorites which can sell for more than $1,000 a gram. One carat (0.2 gram) of one of the Soviet moon rocks recently sold for $442,000 ($2,210,000 per gram). A few grams of dust retrieved from Apollo spacesuits sold for $42,000.  

It is clear that the pre-mission price of IOS lunar samples is a bargain. Since the IOS lunar sample return mission will be the first commercial mission of its kind in the history of space exploration, samples from this mission will also have additional value for collectors.

The resale value of the samples could be many times higher than the pre-sale price offered here.


What is the RIPPER?

RIPPER is an acronym for the Robotic Interplanetary Prospector Excavator and Retriever. It is an automated two-stage spacecraft and Earth Reentry Capsule (ERC) designed to land on and return samples from the smaller extraterrestrial bodies in the Solar System. This includes the moons, the asteroids, and the comets. The system will initially be used for lunar missions. Fully fueled, the Lunar RIPPER weighs 888-Lbs. (403-Kgs). It will be launched by the IOS N36M rocket, currently under development at Interorbital Systems. It will first place the RIPPER on a lunar-direct trajectory (lunar escape velocity without going into Earth orbit). Three-and-a-half days later, RIPPER will land on the Moon without going into lunar orbit (Lunar-Direct Landing). RIPPER will spend several hours on the surface of the Moon collecting and storing samples before the RIPPER Earth Return Stage (ERS) is started. The ERS will launch the Earth Reentry Capsule (ERC) on an Earth Direct Trajectory (EDT). The ERC will have minimum midcourse correction capability (cold-gas thrusters). After reaching the Earth, the ERS will reenter the atmosphere on a Ballistic Return Trajectory, heat-shield forward. After slowing down, drogue chutes will stabilize the ERC until it drops to an altitude of a few thousand feet. At this point the ERC’s main parachute will be opened. The ERC will touch down on land in an unspecified unpopulated area. RIPPER's first stage will remain on the Moon carrying out photographic activity, and transmitting the pictures to Earth.


Phone: 661.965.0771

P.O. Box 662, Mojave 93502-662

Emad Orabi, Cairo, Egypt: 28 grams

1786 grams still available for first mission.


Current Sales