Shackleton Energy Company
Shackleton Energy Company was formed in 2007 in Del Valle, Texas to build equipment and technologies necessary for mining the Moon. Shackleton Energy was a subsidiary of Piedra-Sombra Corporation until March 2011, when it was incorporated as an independent C-corporation in the State of Texas.
|Bill Stone (Chairman)|
Dale Tietz (CEO)
Jim Keravala (COO)
Shackleton intends to undertake lunar prospecting. According to their website, they originally stated that they would place a team on the moon within eight years. They have now removed many of those dates from their website after meeting no milestones and failing to secure funding.
The company plans to develop an "industrial astronaut corps" that would select individuals who have many of the characteristics of previous explorers—such as Ernest Shackleton, Edmund Hillary and Lewis and Clark. They further state that they plan to have humans stationed on the Moon by March 2021
In the belief that significant reserves of ice will be located, the company hopes to establish a network of "refueling service stations" in low Earth orbit (LEO) and on the Moon to process and provide fuel and consumables for commercial and government customers. Shackleton hopes to build a fuel-processing operation on the lunar surface and in propellant depots in LEO. Their equipment would be designed to melt the ice and purify the water, "electrolyze the water into gaseous hydrogen and oxygen, and could condense the gases into liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen and also process them into hydrogen peroxide, all of which could be used as rocket fuels. Should other volatiles like ammonia or methane be discovered, they, too, would be processed into fuel, fertilizer, and other useful products."
The economics that would make the enterprise potentially profitable are based on the relatively low costs of getting fuels and other consumables from the moon into low Earth orbit, because "such a haul requires just 1/14th to 1/20th of the fuel it takes to bring material up from Earth."
Shackleton began a US$1.2 million crowdfunding campaign in November 2011 for seed funding, working with crowdfunding partner RocketHub. At the end of the fund raising period, only $5,517 was raised of the $1.2 million (0.46%) they hoped for.
Shackleton originally planned a phased project through 2020. Their plans were funding dependent on a raise in early 2013. However, funding was not secured. There have been no updates as to their progress.
- Systems planning and enterprise planning were to happen between 2012 and 2014.
- Robotic precursor missions, lasting two to three years, were planned to "identify and characterize the nature, composition and locations of the optimum ice concentrations at the north and south pole craters". Surface operations and surface assays with Shackleton equipment will complement the parallel NASA and international missions. Projected to begin as early as 2014.
- Establish prototyping and engineering infrastructure in LEO to test the interchangeable modules that are intended for later use for production. planned to concurrently start in 2014.
- Establish production-scale equipment and transport vehicles, both in LEO and on the surface of the Moon. Once the lunar polar base has been confirmed and the equipment is landed, human teams will follow to monitor and operate the facility for the extraction of water ice.
Although the requisite legal regime to enable the ice mining technology does not exist, major world space agencies, including NASA, have put in place a "voluntary, non-binding coordination forum (the Coordination Mechanism) where nations can share plans for space exploration and collaborate to strengthen both individual projects and the collective effort."
- Danish, Paul (2012-06-21). "Mining in Space". Boulder Weekly. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
- "Stone Aerospace Advocates Commercial Mining of the Moon". Stone Aerospace. 2007-01-15. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
Shackleton Energy Company (SEC) [is] a wholly owned subsidiary of Piedra-Sombra Corporation
- Window on State Government. Certification of Account Status. Retrieved: 7 March 2012.
- "Press Release Removed" (PDF).
- Shackleton Energy's cislunar economic development plans Archived 2013-01-05 at the Wayback Machine David Livingston interview with James Keravala, The Space Show, 14 December 2012, at 1:22:35–1:23:50, accessed 2013-01-03.
- Mining the Moon: How the extraction of lunar hydrogen or ice could fuel humanity's expansion into space, IEEE Spectrum, June 2009, accessed 2011-01-05.
- Messier, Doug (2011-11-09). "Shackleton Energy Company Launches Plan for First Lunar Mining Operation". Parabolic Arc. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
- "Humans to Return to the Moon by 2019", Shackleton Energy Company, 09 November 2011. Retrieved on 10 November 2011.
- "Project: Shackleton Energy Company Propellant Depots, Rockethub, Retrieved on 16 January 2012.
- Shackleton Energy's cislunar economic development plans Archived 2013-01-05 at the Wayback Machine David Livingston interview with James Keravala, The Space Show, 14 December 2012, at 55:25–57:40, accessed 2012-12-22.
- Moon, Mars, Asteroids: Where to Go First for Resources? SSI-TV video archive, recorded on November 9, 2010, 74:37, panel discussion held during the Space Studies Institute's Space Manufacturing 14 conference in California. "Moderated by tech investor Esther Dyson, the discussion included: Prof. Michael A'Hearn, University of Maryland, Dept. of Astronomy, Prof. Greg Baiden, Penguin Automated Systems, Mark Sonter, Asteroid Enterprises Pty Ltd, Prof. John S. Lewis, Space Studies Institute, Dr. Paul Spudis, Lunar and Planetary Institute, and Jeff Greason, XCOR Aerospace."
- The Global Exploration Strategy: the Framework for Coordination Archived 2012-08-26 at the Wayback Machine, ASI (Italy), BNSC (United Kingdom), CNES (France), CNSA (China), CSA (Canada), CSIRO (Australia), DLR (Germany), ESA (European Space Agency), ISRO (India), JAXA (Japan), KARI (Republic of Korea), NASA (United States of America), NSAU (Ukraine), Roscosmos (Russia), section 3 "Theme 3: Economic Expansion", pp. 10–12, May 2007, accessed 2011-01-05.