PTScientists are building a lunar lander to visit Apollo 17’s landing site in the second half of 2019. The Berlin-based company is pursuing a bold plan, drawing support from, among others, the Bechtle CAD specialists at SolidLine.
The idea for PTScientists is born in 2008, when founder Robert Böhme and a band of engineers and enthusiasts decide to take part in the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The aim of the competition: to land a probe on the Moon and send a rover at least 500 metres across its surface. A year on, the team officially registers for the Lunar XPRIZE and unveils a first prototype rover shortly after. The company continues on its rocket-fuelled trajectory, building a collaborative relationship with the German Aerospace Center in February 2011 to develop Asimov R3c. The third-generation rover masters a series of tough tests, and goes on to win a $750,000 Milestone Prize for its mobility and imaging subsystems.
A strategic partnership with Audi concluded a year later injects money and also extensive automotive engineering, lightweighting and metal 3D printing experience into the project. The rover’s revised design sees its weight slashed from 45 to 35 kilograms. An advantage not to be taken lightly, given that every kilo costs $500,000 to transport into orbit. “Our aim is to send a payload to the Moon at a fraction of the price it used to cost,” says Jürgen Brandner, CTO and Head of Construction at PTScientists.
SolidLine and SOLIDWORKS are essential.
To this end, PTScientists is building an Autonomous Landing and Navigation module, Alina for short, which is to haul up to 100 kilograms of equipment from Earth to the Moon. Jürgen Brandner has previous experience with SOLIDWORKS as a medical engineer. “I’ve been working with SOLIDWORKS since 1999 and I’m really impressed with how easy it is,” says Mr Brandner. “A fitter can learn to build a frame using standard profiles in SOLIDWORKS in just 40 minutes, which is something I’ve never seen in any other system. It’s exceptional value for money. SOLIDWORKS and SolidLine support us in our construction work so perfectly that it never occurred to us to look for an alternative.”