Adobri Solutions Website is a collection of ideas, source code, and implementations for different projects. Current project focus is the Google Lunar XPrize. In 2011, Adobri Solutions LTD registered 'Team Plan B', the only Canadian team in the international competition, to participate in the GLXPrize.  Participating teams must land a rover to the Moon, have it travel 500 meters while streaming HD video back to earth - Google Lunar X Prize competition. This page consist with updates on the project and information materials from the past.

January, 2014. Mission description - GTO scenario

The primary mission will be done by a direct flight to the Moon from geostationary transfer orbit.  Link to Astra satellite sample orbit.  The transfer orbit has an elliptic characteristic with the perigee close to the Earth and the apogee touching the geostationary orbit (GEO). Depending on the orientation of the ellipse our craft will needs to wait around one month for a correct position of the Sun and the Moon to make the necessary impulse to reach the Moon by a direct flight. After separation from the tag platform, an automatic system check will take place, resulting in an “READY” message being sent over a backup communications link to mission control, to acknowledge that the craft is functional.

   picture of the craft (without payload adapter)

Next, the craft will start an orientation sequence.  The sequence will us a Sun sensor. The vector (calculated direction) to the Sun from the gyro platform data will be stored for future use.  Additional Sun orientation is resolved by the maximum current of one of the solar panels (the craft turns its solar panel to the Sun to maximize the power harvest).  The craft uses an “adaptive attitude” system for all maneuvers.  The principle for an “adaptive attitude" control system is based on calculations of 125 possible movements, performed by a combination of stepper motor steps.  A reaction of resulting quaternion rotations are recorded and stored for future use.  Those values allow for precise control of the craft's rotation (direction), and to optimize movements to reach orientation during flight.

The process to stop undesirable rotations after separation from a tag-platform, or after "sleep" mode, will be performed by calculating the period of the function of the solar sensor's current.  Algorithmically, to stop rotation, (which is equal to the maximization of a measured period of the luminosity function), movements with biggest possible rotation angles from 125 possible quaternions.

If the craft is subjected to uncontrollable rotation, communication will be possible on the perigee part of the orbit via backup communication.  At that moment recorded GPS/GALELEO raw data will be transferred back to mission control.  Continuous recording of the raw signal is not necessary, five to eight samples at a 30-60 minute interval from any navigation satellite will suffice.  Analyzing that data in mission control will allow determination of trajectory, calculation software will running in a distributed calculation mode.  If raw GPS data is not available then a stream of digitized data on L1 frequency will be stored along with a later available navigational satellite coordinates / velocities from stored recording. That step can be done by the signal's extraction software onboard. After determining the orbit parameters, mission control initiates the command for the attitude control to find a vector of the direction to Earth.

The craft then starts rotating itself with some constant speed. Using infrared sensors to detect the crossing of the Earth's edge will trigger the recording of quaternion orientation of the craft (provided by gyro-platform). The direction to the center of the Earth is determined via onboard calculation.

The adaptive attitude system is equipped with a special mechanism for tracking and performing rotations without processing the data from the gyro-platform.  Rotation can be initiated from any still position.  Reverse set of commands repeated in backward order from a previous sequence of rotation movements.

To confirm the period of orbit, the craft will perform a rotation to confirm the direction to Earth's edge. It is not desirable to keep a constant track of the direction to the center of the Earth. After detecting the center of the Earth and the direction to the Sun, mission control can send the sequence of orientation maneuvers for the communication session's orientation (on 2.4GHz frequency). The session’s orientation commands include vector values, stored in the onboard system and time marks for each vectors. The attitude control linearly extrapolates vectors in the time between sequential time markers. It is the task of the mission control to split vectors of orientation to make possible linear interpolation between time marks. The session will transfer telemetry and data from the imaging system.

In the communication session (on 2.4 GHz), additional measurements data will be collected.  The traveling time for the RF signal from the ground station to the craft and the signal traveling time from the craft to the ground station.  Two sequential “ping" measurements can be used in the orbit determination.

From that moment, all efforts will be concentrated on finding proper trajectory from trans-geostationary trajectory (see sample)ample) to the target on the lunar surfac  Preliminary calculations of possible orbits will be performed before launch.

It's imperative to record data from GPS (main) and from GPS/GALILEO front-end RF system as much as possible.  GPS satellites are flying at distances of two Earth diameters and their transmitted signal is beaming toward Earth's direction.  Ideal recording will of the latest data, just before transmit.  At that distance from the Earth, recordings provide max accuracy of orbit determination.  Because the craft will separate from the tag platform, the orbit of the bus will be tracked by independent measurements and the confirmation of the orbit’s parameters can be cross verified.

Two to three weeks of delay is expected before main trans-lunar impulse.  Another method of orbit determination will be performed by measuring three directions, each at different time interval - to the Sun, to the center of the Earth (it will be good visibility on trans-geostationary trajectory), and to the center of the Moon.

Another way of getting measurements (and time) is from three points taken from the orbit. Repeating the process can give another three coordinates. On the way to the Moon the communication session will become longer with ground stations located around the globe. The window of session with two ground stations for simultaneous connection can be important in the orbit’s determination. Such events are planned with two ground stations in Donetsk and Kazakhstan, as well in Hawaii and Cook Island. These two ground station pairs have near perpendicular connecting lines. Which will allow the measure of RF signal time to estimate the orbit with better precision.

The word "orbit" means, “Flying around another celestial body without collision”, and it comprises of period, inclination, and five others values. In simulation software, the orbit can be calculated from the position and the velocity (two vectors), those vectors are the prime source for all calculation. On the main burn, the accelerometer will record the performed impulse. The error in impulse calculation will be less than error in position measurement by RF signal travel time. In trajectory calculation / orbit determination software the velocity will be less volatile. “Distributed mode” of calculations will speed up the process of a series of measurements.

The main impulse (sends craft to the Moon) defines a landing point. The imperfections in impulse will influence the landing target.

    Picture of a main fixed impulse engine.

For the prime landing point coordinates 2S15E on the lunar surface were chosen. That is a highland area with steady inclination. Landing in a radius of 1km from the point will give steady sloops to travel 500m in any directions. 30km east from the exact S2E15 there are two interesting sites - Theon Junior, and Theon Senior. Both landmarks are 18-19km in diameter, with the rim to the floor, 3km difference and with the length of the slope - 5km. Shifting landing point to the rim of Theon Junior (S2.1312 E15.7745) mission will have the ability to travel a distance of 4-5 km in short period of time (8 minutes) and HD video can give detailed pictures of geological structures on all way from the rim to the floor.

   Picture of a desired landing agrea S2.1312 E15.7745

The calculated error is around 600m on latitude and 300m on longitude. In the case of the flight with help of a gravitation of the sun and the moon the landing time will be at the lunar night. The best precision (minimum error) at targeting the landing point is depends on a “lunar” daytime. If a daytime is close to sunrise, then the error will be bigger, and if a daytime is close to "lunar midnight" then the precision is better. The ideal will be landing at the Sunrise line (terminator).

On a trans-lunar trajectory the orientation of the craft become the challenge: the direction to the Sun can be determined correctly. Two maneuvers will be performed every half an hour: to take a picture of the Moon and the Earth. An imagining data then will be transferred to the Earth for a trans-lunar trajectory’s conformation. The picture (the Sun at this moment will perfectly eliminate the Earth) of the Earth with the orientation vector. At mission control adjustment for vector can be calculated based on images and that correction will be delivered to a craft for delta correction. Gyro-platform to perform such operation needs to be capable to track “drift of zero” with minimum precision - 0.5 degree per 30 min.

Risk assessment at this stage of the mission – if main impulse will not bring craft to the lunar surface (the missing trajectory) then the brake impulse will be used to correct the error and send the craft into a collision with the Moon. That will be done to reduce space debris on the earth orbit. That scenario is not a perfect mission ending, but at least hockey puck will be delivered to the moon.

Brake impulse is performed at the last moments before the landing on the Moon. The Moon will be close to the craft and the command’s sequence will be: the detection of the edge of the Moon (by 2 infrared sensors - values gives the direction to the center of the moon), the calculation of the direction to the Sun (by solar sensor). After two vectors measured executed command to orient the craft to the direction of the (solid state) engine’s firing. The craft will be rotated (by attitude control with the hockey puck embeded) to stabilize in the time of firing. Exact ignition time will be determined by a laser range finder. In a study provided in 2011, ignition point was around 24km from the lunar surface at 4 sec before impact. The precision of the ignition (in study) was 10ms, and the ignition error brought 300m error above the lunar surface. Burn of the last engine will take around 20 seconds, and at that time (engine still burns), it ignite the pyro-bolts to separate the engine shell from the landing craft and impact adsorbdion shield (6 kg in mass). Rotation of the rover and the impact shield will be compensated (stopping the rotation) by the carbon fiber spring, released on separation.

  picture of a brake fixed impulse engine.

Calculations performed in 2011 showed that from a random chosen, low earth orbit, landing point on the moon can have the error in longitude - 600 m, in latitude - 300 m. In study the expected landing time was 6-24 hours before Sun rise.

Before the ignition of the brake engine, the HD camera starts to record a video. 3 previous (pre-landing) recordings (length 1 min each) will be done to observe lunar approach. Recording will stop after 5 minutes, and that will cover the entire process of the landing, 4 minutes before impact and 1 minute after. In the case of "before sunrise" landing, to record the performance of the impact shield, the illumination by LED will be turned on.

From the moment of the landing, the mission will be moved to a mobility phase.

15 November, 2013. The decision about GLXP Milestone prizes.

After some consideration Team PlanB decided do not to participate in GLXP Milestone prizes. But because all documents was already prepared – all available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Lunar Mission Concept description

Imaging Subsystem, Development and Verification Plan

Imaging Subsystem, Technical Risk Assessment

Imaging subsystem, Media Plan

Landing subsystem. Development and Verification plan.

Landing subsystem, Technical Risk Assessment

Landing subsystem, Media Plan

Mobility Subsystem, Development and Verification Plan

Mobility Subsystem, Technical Risk Assessment

Mobility subsystem, Media Plan




March, 2013. Quick update

The communication system design done and project will be to assemble all individual subsystems together. See blog on


September, 2012. Quick update.

Last 3 months it was communication – now I believe we have good antenna (CTO even insists to get patent), for ground station sorted out questions with mold creation – it is combined technology with dissolvable mold and alumini parts (takes a lot of time to make 3D printer working but now it saved a lot of time in design), amplifiers starts to give a promising gain. Temperature stabilization for a craft and satellite – study was done – problems and solutions for electronics temperature control was outlined. Stepper motors modes was also done study – there some promising development with precisions in antenna’s orientation. Everything ready for debugging algorithms on inclination table (simulation moon gravity).

On a business front there is interesting development – we made attempt to push for Canadian microsatellite launcher – our proposals/ ideas was in a form of special letter for Canadian Space Agency. Now we are working on a signing process from supporting business. Nothing is visible now but… (see letter)

Problems not resolved et – power station, solar panels, With power it is hard – without experiments on an orbit with Cubesat everything is in a fog.

Video – not much - we have may be 15-20 min video for communication tests – raw video – may be next month we can make video with frame (rover/ground station) creation and wheels testing on inclination table.

2012. Update. One year later.

One year since our team entered competition, it's time to look back and identify project weaknesses.

It was an interesting year. There was a lot learned. Vehicle was redesigned numerous times. We were able to developed trajectory calculations for all range of orbits. Key elements as gyro suited for a mission was investigated and developed. We understand better what's needed to reach the moon, and most important we now recognized many more failure points then estimated last year.

I’ll talk today about update on major development done in Team Plan B.

It will be in 4 parts of posted video.

It is a rover itself (available in video, some explanation images, ugly speaker face, broken English)

It is a software development (available in video.)

Then CubeSat as a platform for a Lunar mission, and last – (available in video.)

Moon as platform of a business - (available in video.)



2012. Update. Rover.

As long as mechanical engineers stopped to ask questions how it will move, and gives a “a-a-a” sound on a reply – “software will control everything” design considered to be in a “OK” status.

Trajectory calculation left 4 kilo for a rover with around 6 kilo dry mass deliverable to a moon’s surface. Two wheels design with composite body suited for such constrain better then previous designs. Everything will depend of a software which suppose to perform tasks

– To stabilize rover and orient antenna to the earth for a communication sessions,

- To navigate over terrain without communication session.

- To harvest couple of watts of a power to perform movements and communication.

- To collect images and limited video.

For movements we abandoned idea to use gearboxes – 4 stepper motors will be prime source – stepper motors were tested for different temperature performance, and only changes was considered - to replace regular bearings to ceramic. One gear for antenna orientation and second gear stand for a camera / third leg must be with 1 to 5 step ratio. This two gears consider to be an open instead of a closed box and should work in dusting environment – as more dust is around it will be better for a gear.

For frame of a rover we are considering using aluminum and composites (carbon fiber and epoxy specked for outgassing performances). Epoxy is not on a list of allowed materials by NASA, but epoxy producer company’s reference shows that it can pass certification for a flight. Tests with graphen’s composites did not show good performance of a resulting material.

Also we found that it's handy to make molds for various rovers parts using special plastic with 3D printer. Design of these parts can be done with engineering CAD and then mold can be printed to get exact shape.

To compensate absence of a gear on two wheels we accepted idea to accumulate energy in wheel’s springs and then released it into desired direction. Wheel’s springs designed to accumulate such energy and release must be triggered based on data collected by gyro/accelerometer block. Weak point in a design – no question – but solar panels on the rover looks like will be not able to give enough power.

 Flexible solar panels were chosen - any other types might not survive the landing impact. Available flexible solar panels were tested for performance - they provide less power then other types – which is a weak point in design. Dust on a panel – is another unsolved problem. One solution is to add additional light weight panel connected to a rover by biblical cord. Panel in that case will be drugged behind a rover, which can give additionally stability to a vehicle.

To survive impact, air bags idea was abandoned because of a weight restriction, complexity of inflation process, and unidirectional capability to adsorb impact. Instead of this we adapted idea of making impact adsorption shield made of composites, each layer of a shield crushes into each other with energy of impact transforming to a process of destruction. Shield will be on one side of a rover only and has to be orient before impact to face lunar surface. This is a very, very weak point in design – after separation from a break engine, rover has to align itself to brace impact.

Software for rover consider to be in prototyping stage, and main electronics design was changed couple of times during last year. Power harvesting consider to be accumulated in capacitors (batteries might not be suitable for this task). Communication between units based on serial/I2C proprietary protocols (looks like only part working now). In 6 main modules (basically this are individual microprocessors with power control capability), camera’s unit, stepper motors unit, power plant module, gyro module, communication module, and backup computer. Gyro module is in more advanced stage – all quaternion mathematics is in “OK” stage (it takes a lot of time to confirm each individual multiplication/division/addition/subtraction in Hamilton’s formulas to have as compact code as possible, each processor cycle it is a power lost).



2012. Update. Software.

Three major steps were done:

Trajectory calculation utilized mathematics for proper simulation of a flight on distances up from 1/3 of the earth diameter. This was relatively easy task, simulation of a space mechanic perfectly fits into a well known equations. Software allows testing of different impulses on a path to the moon. Impulses includes 2 earth-orbit correction, one major burn, one correction on a path to the moon and major brake burn. One correction burn was consider to be in a reserve. All burns suppose to be performed by a solid state engines, and looks like we found a Canadian company capable of building this engines for Team Plan B. Optimal trajectory uses a gravitation of the Sun and the Moon to reach the target. This gives an advantage in initial weight of a craft but gives disadvantage in a time of landing – the best landing can accrues two days before sunrise at landing point. This is critical, because craft need to survive Moon’s night’s condition two earth’s days long under very low temperature on the Moon, it also need to survive sunrise moment when charged dust particles can create danger for electronics. On the other hand it can be a benefit - observation of a sunrise can be used for scientific information, and also give a chance on bonus prize for surviving night conditions.

Also in our trajectory calculation app we included ability to precisely calculate trajectory in low earth orbit. Same formulas can be used to simulate flight in close distances to the moon. That development in software and formulas implementation was a critical point over the last year – without proper accounting earth’s “flatness” it is impossible to make proper main engine burn. It is an interesting mathematical task by itself. When we live on the earth, 99% of a time it does not matter - does the earth is flat, round or it stays on an elephant back. But to fly around Globe, especially close to the earth it is critical to account gravitation’s inconsistency. It took us around 2 months to properly understand all formulas, all partial derivatives of a gravitation potential, to implement and to verify all calculation (verification was a major problem). Simulation can give position of a satellite on low earth orbit with a precision of a 1 second. More important that flatness coefficients for a simulation can be used from different earth models, and with desired amount. The similar coefficients for a Moon’s gravity can be accounted for proper landing location. For sure Moon’s gravitation is better represented by adding to account MASCONS (mass concentrates) but because direct landing was chosen, that is not critical for now. Basically what software needs - is a visualization plus addition of accounting velocity of the earth rotation. With that last addition software will be capable to get trajectory from a launch point on the earth’s surface till lending on the moon.

Another critical part in mathematic implementation / software development was related to orientation capability for a craft (in flight) and for a rover on the surface. To reach the moon needs to achieve 0.3 degree precision of orientation at a time of a main engine’s burn. To properly navigate on a terrain, to climb out of craters half meters deep on the moon (which will be minimum five in area 10 by 10 meters square), to orient antenna back to the earth, needs to get the same 0.3 degree precision. It require gyroscope. Available gyro was screened to choose affordable one. It is solid state device without desirable performance. It can not sense anything better then 0.05 degree of a rotation/sec.

How to make it working? How to milk-out gyro to desired precision? Well, there are ways, first is to use 3D accelerometer, to get gravity vector, but this will solve a problem for a rover only, it does not work on the orbit.

(a) Need to use at least two gyro with compensation of the axes on each other, this will double/ precision from 0.05 to 0.025,

(b) to use proper mathematics to compensate temperature drift (main drift for a gyro comes from temperature instability),

(c) to use on orbit 3D magnetometer to get a vector of a magnetic field.

(d) and usual business for software – undocumented capabilities for a device.

To process quaternion’s mathematics from at least two gyros require fixed point software development and mathematic implementation (all openly available software was to slow to do such task, or was implemented not for a suitable flight processors). Two gyro’s has to be place as close to each other as possible. And the implementation require processor’s cycles, which is translated to a required power to perform such task.

The regular approach is to compensate drift to stabilized temperature and account gyro drift after stabilization. It was found that actually (may be this is a characteristic of a particular solid state gyro) it is possible to compensate temperature’s drift by 3D wave representation instead of approach when individual readings from each axe are accounted.

Development and time spend on such software paid – off – two solid state gyro plus software, detects earth rotation (0.004 degree/sec).

Magnetic field. To detect magnetic field vector with desired precision 0.1 degree needs to average samples during 1 sec. At least on a low earth orbit will be enough information to get elements of the orbit – disadvantage of that approach - magnetic sensor needs to place as far as possible from any rotating parts/ stepper motors; another disadvantage readings (value of a vectors during time of one rotation) needs to transfer back to the earth – computers on board require a lot of processor’ cycles to perform task, which is translates back to a available power on a craft.



2012. CubeSat as a testing stage for a Lunar mission.

Last year summit gives interesting switch in development. One of a GLXPZE team presented that one of its partner/team member are currently developing launch vehicle capable to deliver small payload to a low earth orbit.

Why not to try to use such opportunity?

May be it will be a failure, but to spend 14 grand is not the same as to spend millions on a development of a satellite and then wait for a available rocket to place it into the orbit, or watch undisclosed amount of money burning in atmosphere because of simultaneously failure of two main and backup computers.

First – needs to get orientation of a craft/satellite with a precision of 0.3 degree. If error over 0.3 - then Moon is missed. If nano satellite will achieve this precision, then it will be green light for a craft itself.

Second – communication over two channels (main and backup) has to be proved to capable to transfer data to/from ground station(s).

Third – requirements for a satellite’s testing needs to be passed, prior placing a satellite inside a launch vehicle. Passing tests is a good step in unknown direction.

Four – ground station (communication) has to be developed and tested (better it will be communicate with satellite on low earth orbit before attempting to fly to the moon).

After brief consideration decision was made – to try. As a result trajectory calculation tailored to properly calculate orbit parameters on low orbit (definitely essential part in a direction to the moon). And then another development passed - to make gyro working.

Main units for a rover will be the same as on a CubeSat : camera unit (2 units looking in opposite direction), gyro unit, main computer with a storage of a data, Communication unit, backup communication unit, power plant unit, orientation unit. If development of such component will be successful then software can be reused on a rover.

Backup communication - better to be capable to communicate with CubeSat even it is out of a ground station reach. Decision - to use satellite communication. Such modems appears on market in last years. Restrictions - temperature requirements - to solve needs to submerge modem to epoxy and trace connectors outside improvised compartment. Power requirements on transmit is 1.5 watt.

Main communication 2.4GHz, this band is designated as a hopping frequency band – as long as transmitter not stays on same channel, no license require to operate on that band with no restriction on antenna and power up to 4WT (in Canada or 1WT in US). For such band recently developed OEM amplifiers modules with transmit power up to 1-2WT. The key module for 2.4 GHz transmit/receive is just regular blue tooth device. Software require to be able to do error correction – on a long distances repeating packet in case of error, or send/receive ACK/NACK is not a practical way to do a communication.

Power plant needs to harvest from a solar panel as much as possible energy and store it in 6 capacitors. Super capacitors was chosen instead of batteries because better performance in temperature range. Limitation on temperature high then 85C can not be overcome, but performance of super capacitors in a temperature high 85C limit the live time of a capacitor. Power plant needs to check which solar panel is perform better, what unit needs to get most power, and switch source of a power to a discharged capacitor, and then switch delivery of a power to required unit. Performance of power plant will be main re-design source for a rover.

Camera module can be a prime element for an orientation – it will not only deliver a picture but software in main computer can detect horizon and that detection can help to calculate direction to the center of the earth. Camera needs to be stripped from an optic, pin hole will be main optical element, and quartz glass on a sensor has to be drilled to make a hole to avoid braking glass in vacuum.

Orientation module will have 3 small stepper motors (instead of 4 on a rover) task for module to adapt rotation to keep required orientation calculated by gyro module.

Gyro module was main element in last year development, it is working now and we are happy with it.

Now the frame – frame for a satellite - according a spec of a CubeSat it has to be build with a specific standards. On a market now available a lot of different frame/CubeSat kits with a price for a frame from 5 to 10 thousands dollars. Team Plan B decided to try to build our own frame – antenna for a communication module has to be deployed, this is non a standard configuration. One of our partner, Jetasonic Technologies Inc company, based in Coquitlam BC, Canada, develop such frame. Everybody interested in CubeSat frame for commercial or for education use, are welcome to contact Jetasonic Inc company to buy a standard or modified, Canadian build, CubeSat frame. Please support Jetasonic Technologies Inc.

And last part in a CubeSat development – the ground station. One of a task performed by a rover is to orient antenna to the earth for a communication. If to combine ground station with a rover, then both tasks will be achieved simultaneously. That is last what can be said about CubeSat development.

Again if you need CubeSat frame for commercial or education use, contact Jatasonic Technologies Inc.


2012. Moon as a platform for a business.

Distance from the Earth to the Moon is around three hundred ninety thousand kilometers. What will be on a first fraction of that path, what is on first two hundred kilometers (just on a distance from Vancouver to Seattle). No oil, no sand, no sand with oil, no water, no air, – nothing, vacuum, in one word.

How many vacuums, do we need?

And what from another side are business’s key points – business is relation btw people, business is a hard work, it is a civilization by itself, it is our human nature, it is how we manage resources. But how to manage something which does not exists.

That is a key question.

Previous round of a space development was heavily driven by military. Rockets was primly developed to deliver something unimaginable to get as side effect some real resources. Looks like same strategy should apply – needs to find side effect of a Moon exploration.

It can be a placement, to the moon, production of space based equipment. For example, if needs to build a satellite and place it on some earth orbit - it can be less energy and resources to send satellite from the surface of The Moon then from the surface of The Earth (additionally on the Moon there is no atmosphere).

Another definitely big side effect of a moon exploration – society of such Lunar development can use on the Moon any inventions without restriction. The moon consider as international zone, like free sea. Removing restrictions boundaries boosts creativity. And licensing technology back to The Earth from The Moon will bring real resources to a business.

Team Plan B is nursing the idea to develop on the moon the first stage of such base (strong sentence to say - we will be just happy to participate in such development) – as a first task for the base, equipment delivered from The Earth to The Moon has to be replicated without presence man on the moon.

After self replication (3D printing development quickly closing such gap now) that base can be self sustained and can make anything require for future space exploration.

In a scope of that, we are discussing possibility to make one key technological experiment on a mission. If rover can move on a dusty Lunar surface (if!?), it is possible to make from Lunar dust simple elements like wire or stripe. Kainda use a rover as a self moving printer.

That’s it for update.

Now I have to return back to a question – how many vacuums do I need? I have four, at home. Three are broken. One is still running.



A registration in a competition.

Table of Contents


Team name: Plan B Team

leader name: Alex Dobrianski

CRAFT name(s): Plan B

Associated Team nationality or nationalities: Canadian

Key Team members, with roles:

Sergei Dobrianski, Web Master

Andrei Dobrianski, Technical Director

Alex Ivanov, Chief Technical Officer

Chief point of contact for XPF, with contact information*: Alex Dobrianski. #1407 950 Cambie st., Vancouver BC, V6B5X5,, ph. 1-604-306-1526

Chief point of contact for the media, with contact information: Alex Dobrianski. #1407 950 Cambie st., Vancouver BC, V6B5X5,, ph. 1- 604-8730959.

Summary description of Team and your proposed mission:

“Team B” is an initiative from privately funded Canadian company Adobri Solutions Ltd. Our mission is to utilize existing technologies in software, microprocessors, communication, guidance and robotic systems to produce small weight vehicle capable of traveling to and transmitting data to/from the moon surface. Delivery of a vehicle to Lunar surface planed by a probe/craft with fixed impulses engines. Main weight target on low-earth orbit for a probe and vehicle total is 100-150 kg. Flight schema will include two orbit correction impulses, one main and one brake impulse with direct arrival to the moon surface and soft landing with air-bags assistance. Designed and manufactured vehicle/craft must pass thermal, mechanical, vacuum’s ground tests prior making launch arrangements. Two launches are planned to succeed in winning the Google Lunar X PRIZE. Results, mistakes in design, errors in calculation, and bugs in software on first mission will give valuable input for the second craft/probe re-design and second launch planed 9 month after. As for a media attraction event our Canadian “Team B” is considering to deliver to the lunar surface a hockey ice puck to make a symbolic face-off on the Moon.

Biographies of Team leader and key Team members:

Alex Dobrianski – Team Lead. Master degree in mathematics. Currently software engineer with 28 years of probably useless experience in computer industry. Those include all type of obsolete software and hardware design and implementation. Ancient mainframe computer’s systems simulation, antique real time systems, archaic video processing, primitive telecommunication systems are areas of expertise. Space technologies were a dream from childhood and opportunity to enter this field was not available until now. Obstacles on a path to Space like eye’s astigmatism, luck of education and serendipity in high-tech utilization, absence of security clearance did not disappeared with a time and made more stubborn to participate on Google Lunar X PRIZE.

Sergei Dobrianski, Web Master. Student of British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Andrei Dobrianski. Technical Director. Holds an Electrical and Computer Engineering Diploma from British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Alex Ivanov. Chief Technical Officer Alex Ivanov holds PhD degree in physics with over 25 year experience in the fields of ultrasound, physical acoustics, and cryogenics. Currently engaged in design of acoustic instrumentation, digital signal processing, high speed communication, data transfer and visualization. Founder of privately owned company manufacturing sonar equipment.

Team logo (vector graphic or minimum of 300 dpi):



Synopsis of mission “Plan B”.

1. Launch on a “low earth” orbit can be done via commercial vehicle or as additional payload for a regular government’s funded space launch. Orbit can be per-calculated but likely be unpredictable. Parameters of orbit after successful launch are to be independently (from a launcher company) calculated and verified by use GPS module(s).

2. Up to 5-20 circulation will require to check all on-board equipment/systems and for preparation for low-orbit high-orbit manoeuvre. Crucial systems functionality has to be conformed: communication, data transfer, orbit parameter's calculation, astro-orientation, image delivery.

3. “Low-orbit” to “high-orbit” transfer has to be done via two impulses. High orbit has to be achieved because of unknowing parameters of low-orbit, and as result unknowing waiting time (up to one month) before flight to the moon. Impulses can be roughly calculated and as result preformed by less precision high-thrust engines. High orbit has to be achieved to avoid atmosphere influence on waiting orbit.

4. “Waiting-orbit” correction can be done via low-thrust precision engine. Engine needs to be fired up a couple times to deliver impulses for orbit correction. Without rush all system functionality needs to be test on “waiting-orbit”.

5. “Waiting-orbit” to “Earth-to-Moon” orbit transfer must be done via one impulse of less precision high-thrust engine. All command for orbit correction has to be verified before this manoeuvre.

6. At “Earth-to-Moon” orbit intensive trajectory corrections has to be performed. All correction must be done by low-thrust engine.

7. Brake impulse can be preset and constant at design stage, plus-minus variation verified at testing stage. “Earth-to-moon” orbit correction together with intensive calculations on mission control system, and on board computers has to deliver probe in specific point, with specific velocity in sun-earth-moon celestial point. Astro-orientation system must set impulse’s vector based on desired landing place. Brake impulse should slow probe enough to be allow soft-landing (air-bag based) system to adsorb impact at lunar surface. Before soft landing all unused parts and engines frame needs to be disconnected / ejected. Probe's antenna needs to be placed into a landing position.

8. Soft-landing system air-bags will somehow adsorb impact and deliver probe without some / serious damage to the Moon. Air-bags will deflate/ruptured and probe has to be oriented on surface.

9. Check of all probe’s systems. Broken probe’s components have to be detected. Communication with mission control has to be performed. Backup systems activated. Decision made on travel ability on terrain in desired direction.

10. Travel / filming / data transferring according X PRIZE rules. If possible travel 500 m and attempt to survive lunar night. All mission design was made based in information published by Boris Chertok. 

Pease describe your preliminary launch plans. Do you intend to use the Google Lunar X PRIZE Preferred Launch Provider, SpaceX? What other Launch vehicles are you considering? Do you intend to use the Google Lunar X PRIZE Preferred Launch Site, the State of Florida? What are your other candidate launch sites, and what are your candidate launch windows?

Launch plans is not designed and decided yet. In previous NASA and Russian Space programs first priority was to design launch vehicle and then check what missions will be achievable with it. However, according Boris Chertok ( a better approach is backwards design. Lunar vehicle's design will bring requirements for flight schema, those will chain design for a flight plan and finally will give requirements for a mass and/on initial orbit. That will be a moment when launch plans should be decided and made.

According quick calculation launch should be capable for deliver 100-150 kg payload to low-earth orbit. Costs and prices should be negotiated, and if costs of a SpaceX and/or any another agency/provider will be suitable – then decisions will be made accordingly.

According to preliminary calculation design, development and testing can be done in an 18 months time frame. Those make launch windows for spring 2013 and a second (backup) launch in winter 2013-2014. Two launches must be included – all ground testing would not able to eliminate all problems in probe design. A second launch is required to reduce probability of an unsuccessful first mission (chances for success is around 1/100) all sources of troubles (like charged particles, orbit miscalculation, communication blackouts, landing side terrain) theoretically can be solved by second mission only.

Delivery for a payload of 100-150 kg to low-earth orbit fits the probe into a category of a small/amateurs satellite. From a low-earth orbit two impulses are required to get the waiting orbit. Those impulses will be performed by two solid state engines with fixed impulses. Vector orientation for impulses will be achieved by probe's active mode rotation. On waiting orbit, probe can be parked for up to a one month waiting period. On low and waiting orbits Keppler’s coordinates of a probe will be calculate by backed-up two GPS receivers, conformation of centre-to-earth vector can be independently confirmed by imaginary system. Then at a specific moment main thrust engine will delivery the probe to a collision path to the Moon. Again (same as first two impulses) main thrust will be done by a prefixed solid state engine, orientation of a probe in time of impulse will be controlled by probe's active mode rotation.

All inconsistency of impulse and miscalculation at waiting orbit must be corrected by “precise” low-thrust engine which must have a force of 15000-37000 N. Active component for that engine can be ethanol with melting (-114C) and boiling (+78C) point. This will allow performance (stay liquid) in temperature range at space environment. Energy for thrust will be collected by solar reflector on a graphite’s heater element of an engine. This engine with lunar vehicle is a challenge because it requires designs for a tanks, pumps, solar reflector, connection tubes, and graphite heater.

Vector orientation for impulses will be achieved by active mode of probe’s rotation. Four solid state engines (one for break impulse) will be mounted orthogonal to each other with axes of each engine projected over the centre of mass of a probe. Axes of a 3 stepper motors to control probe rotation in active (impulse) mode will be projected over the center of mass too. Also, there will be a challenge to design software for controlling rotation. Thrust vectors for solid state engines can be simulated by earth gravity but software has to be adaptive to harness limitation and real space flight conditions. Developing probe’s mathematical model could help to solve design challenges.

Please describe your preliminary plans for landing on the Moon. Where do you intend to land?

What will be your descent method? Landing of probe will be similar to Luna-8/9 probe flight’s schema. Main break impulse has to be performed by fixed solid state engine to deliver probe with 0m/s velocity to a point with a minimum altitude of 250m and maximum of 750m from the lunar surface. Time to start engine has to be given by radar with antenna embedded into case of a brake-engine. Intensive calculation by an on-board computer of vertical and horizontal speeds. Presiding the engine start the radar should give data to control the probe's active mode rotation. Moment of engine stop, detected by acceleration sensors will signal to deploy airbags. Deploying airbags will remove engine frame mounted on a lunar vehicle and the frame itself will be ejected by the rotation’s momentum from brake stage. Air bag will be inflated by evaporated ethanol require for low-thrust engine burning.

Another method of inflating can be considered. No decision about final approach of air-bag inflating is made yet, the same can be said about checks on mounting frame on engine.

Ejection of engine frame by rotation of a probe is required to avoid collision with probe’s parts at landing stage. Landing point on the lunar surface preferred to be at the middle of a visible part of a the Moon with coordinates 2ºS 15ºW. This is the Moon’s new geological area with more mountains but with less small crater terrain. Landing time preferable at the beginning of the lunar day, but final decision of a landing point/time can be made based on waiting-orbit parameters and all flight-path to the moon.

If parameters of waiting-orbit and performance of low-thrust engine will not be enough to make landing, then decisions have to be made to (a) to achieve moon’s satellite position or (b) crush landing to the moon. In case of moon’s-satellite orbit frame will remain attached to the lunar vehicle to help do probe orientation, and mission will continue (this can be consider as a failure in Google Lunar X PRIZE competition) to test communication equipment and to delivery images from around Moon orbit. Magnetometer sensors for that backup mission will be mounted on engines frame.

Airbags should be capable to reduce maximum speed at surface impact from 80m/s to 0 m/s with landing on lunar powder 20 cm deep. On impact airbags will be ruptured. Orientation to surface at landing will be achieved by rotation of probe. All landing will be performed automatically by on-board computer with telemetry recorded. It is not practical to make video after airbags will be deployed, but some video recording is possible at brake-engine firing.

After landing (if vehicle survive and communications will be established) first will be transmitted landing data telemetry such as radar’s data reading, gyro-accelerators reading, controls signal for active rotation. It is not decided yet, but it will be preferable to deploy airbags based on another low-thrust engine evaporated component (ethanol) in this case it is possible to eject low-thrust engine long before and use its low thrust to delay impact of an engine frame to the Moon by couple minutes. This (with additionally mounted on frame backup communication system) will give possibility to re-transmit telemetry at landing time. Such development if preferable but will make mission more complicated and costly.

Please describe your preliminary plans for meeting the 500 meter roaming requirement. Will your whole landing vehicle (or “CRAFT”) move, or a secondary vehicle? What is your mode of transportation e.g. 6 wheeled rover, crawling on legs, rocket assisted hops, et cetera?

Vehicle’s design required to withstand impact equivalent of a free fall from 125m on Earth with airbag protection. This will give easy guidance for an air-bag/vehicle ground test. Airbags deflates after landing.

Vehicle consist of a flat frame with 3 wheels, double sized two solar panels, horizon/azimuth orientation helical 2.4GHz antenna, sealed boxes/frame with computer equipment. Vehicle is capable of travel despite which side of frame is up. Making length longer than width will give capability to flip on side/edge of terrain, such move can be useful to switch vehicle's sides and as a result to switch solar panel with deteriorated performance.

All 3 wheels before landing will be in “transportation” position to make vehicle “flat”. After landing wheels will be moved to “working” position by springs – this will give flexibility for each wheel as a result third wheel can be dynamically oriented to support steering of vehicles. Radius of each wheels 125mm, antenna length 650mm, total length 1050mm. Movement of antenna and its equipment / contr-weight box can give additional steering / movement / digging capabilities.

Vehicle require 5 stepper motors to move and to orient antenna. All motors are regular stepper motors, changing bearing to ceramic may be required depend on performance at vacuum/temperature chamber's testing. Wiring on motors will require to withstand temperature range from -100C to +115C. Desired direction and distance will be sent to probe from ground control. On vehicle movement acceleration and azimuth from sensors and motors performance will be accumulated together with solar panel efficiency and on-board computer that will make decisions to achieve desired point of travel.

Upon arrival or upon time-out vehicle will orient antenna for communication session with earth ground control. For 500m travel 50-75 sessions will be required. At session point/time telemetry will be transferred first, then low resolution pictures from camera. Then decision to transfer high resolution video/picture will be made. Transferring HD images will give time to make a decision of next movement of probe. All travel should be performed during 168 hours (7 days) upon landing. This will gives 2 hour time between sessions with a travel time 20-25 minutes per session.

A convex mirror will be mounted on the antenna that will help observe terrain from a high point. On the antenna box there will be another mounted flat mirror which will allow the observation of the vehicle itself. On travel two low resolution and one high resolution cameras will delivery images to memory storage.

Two 2.4GHz transmitter/receivers will be connected to network of microprocessors and sensors, and to transmitter / receiver amplifiers. Transmitter will be capable to burst packet with pick power 100Wt, Receiver's amplifier will be able to gain 92dB signal in 2.4 GHz band. Transmitters and receivers will be able to choose channels within 1-2MHz space to compensate temperature instability. Transmitter rate has to be around 32-48-56 Kbit/sec otherwise only selected HD video / images can be transmitted. We expect real transmission rate actually be at 19Kbit/sec max this will allow to transfer in one session from vehicle to ground control 1-3Mb of information.

Nothing interesting can be expected from an HD images – it will be nice to make an experiment of making two 5-10 Megapixel pictures from high point of crater's size calculations and compare it with different similar picture made from different place on the Moon by different competitors of Lunar X PRIZE.

How do you intend to communicate with your CRAFT? How will you download your Mooncasts?

Communication with a probe will be on 2.4GHz frequency. Core of a transmitter and receiver will be done with a regular Bluetooth chips. Instead of an antenna transmitter there will be a connect to power amplifier capable to 100Wt pick transmit power. Receiver pin on chip will be connected to exit from low noise cascade amplifier capable of 92dB gain. Both amplifiers and Bluetooth chip will be controlled by additional microprocessor.

Protocol will support: low speed, medium speed 5bit/3bit with majority error correction, compatibility, and hash protection. Mode transfer: half-duplex with hardware flow-control and each packet with sequence number.

Portable ground stations will include 4 helical double size antennas, receiver’s and transmitter’s amplifiers, same chip as a probe and microprocessor unit. On portable ground station microprocessor unit will be connected to a personal computer using a serial port. On PC special software will collect packets and send its over IP to a central ground control station. Because of restrictions to communication on 2.4GHz band in different regions of the Earth some stations will be working in “receiver-only” mode. 6 stations will be located around the globe to cover 24 hours communication with probe, these stations will require a permit to operate in transmit mode. All stations will be equipped with horizon – azimuth orientation system controlling from the same communication software. Backup (manual) orientation assumed.

Each microprocessor unit (on probe and on ground stations) is capable of remote software download. Each microprocessor unit can work as a regular AT modem and as a standalone device controlling network for the probe’s internal communications system. In normal mode of operation the probe will be accessible as a web server with a designated IP address. Web server will be based on a main computer module controllable by GET/PUT requests. Output of such requites will be in XML format with telemetries readings /statuses of a probe.

All images/video will be hosted on separate shield protected flash memory. This memory card will be accessible from cameras/web server. In case of main computer failure standalone module will activate communication and control will be transferred to backup computer – in this case telemetry will be available to read from ground control directly. Images / video as a file can be requested from ground control and send as raw data, movement of probe can be pre-programmed only. Additional back up system will be developed for probe’s antenna orientation.

Do you intend to utilize the Google Lunar X PRIZE Preferred Communications partners, the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array or the Universal Space Network?

Yes. We are planning to utilize SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array and Universal Space network. For that development will be modified regular ground station to work in receiver mode and instead of connection 4 helical antennas it will be plugged to equip available X PRIZE Preferred Communications partners.

Do you intend to attempt to claim any of the Bonus prizes? If so, which ones?

It was not decided yet, but it is preferable to make an attempt to claim Bonus prize for survival Moon’s night on a second mission. Method - digging into Lunar dust antenna equipment box and wheels to stabilize temperature conditions for microprocessor equipment. Another way is to use ejected probes frame – likely metallic parts will penetrate dip enough to support heat exchange from underneath lunar dust and vital for survival probe’s equipment. No calculations were made yet to make any estimates



Please describe your financing plans for this mission. Are you self‐financed? If not, how do you intend to raise funding? Do you intend to generate revenue on this mission in addition to attempting to win these prize purses? What percentage of the total funding necessary for your mission have you already obtained?*

Development of a probe and vehicle must be done based on existing available technologies. Targeting low-weight will reduce costs of materials, production and probe’s electronic equipment.


Testing equipment including vacuum/temperature chambers will be co-used for a porpoise of a manufacturing probe. Renting manufacturing equipment for mechanical part’s production will be done based on separate agreement with owner of equipment with exchange to service provided by Adobri Solutions Ltd. 


Communication with a probe on orbit and on a moon will require portable receiver/transmitter stations around globe, compensation for team members on that stage will discussed separately. Main cost will be on a launch planed to be scheduled after successful ground tests. Funds for first and second launches will be main expenses for a project.


With target weight on low-earth orbit 100-150kg it gives estimates 1,000,000 – 3,000,000 CDN per launch. Raise funding will be done via: (a) constant attempts to find sponsors for a mission, (b) signing a contract with NASA’s Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data, (c) web site donations, (d) advertisements embedded onto surface of a probe, (e) sales of imprinting messages on wheels of a vehicle to delivery somebody eternity - immortal messages to the Moon’s surface for a future civilizations(1 wheel = 1 message=affordable price 1,000,000CDN payments on delivery). Other ways to raise funds useless to discuss until probe manufactured and ground tested passed.

Do you plan to carry any scientific payload not required by the Google Lunar X PRIZE mission requirements? If so, what, and why?

In the case of unsuccessful mission but at possibility to enter Moon’s orbit magnetometer we plan to embed into a probe, telemeter readings that will be published. Decisions to include magnetometer is not made yet.

Do you expect support from your government? In what form might this take? How will you comply with the Google Lunar X PRIZE rules on private financing that limit governmental contributions to no more than 10% of total Team expenditures?

According to Boris Chertok it is impossible to advance any technology including space industry without government funding/political support. To avoid this empirical rule (to avoid government funding) will be made all attempts to develop anything advanced and challenging. Also will be avoided any attempts to get, to use, and to develop any patents because Moon does not consider as an area covered by patents regulations. Message about “Moon is inventions terra free form patents” will be imprinted to airbags and delivered to the Moon to comply with Chertok’s empirical rule.



Quote from Team leader or Team member, with attribution, on the importance of the Google Lunar X PRIZE

  Google Lunar X PRIZE is an important initiative made by X PRIZE Foundation. Challenge of that kind especially in Space history is unprecedented. Introducing this type of competition in area of Space development in a view of a Team “Plan B” marking moment when advances in technology, electronics, communication and science already done, stagnate and available for everybody. It is like seeding new grass. Seeds will adsorb everything available in current soil of innovation, grow strong on existing high-tech’s manure, compete unpredictably with each other, and at the end of a day spectacularly fertilize new ground for next metamorphoses of technical knowledge. Team “Plan B” is excited to participate in Lunar X PRIZE, and hopes that our feasible supplement will help make a next technological stride regardless of our possibility to win, which we ambitiously assume to be one in one hundred

If your Embedded Public Outreach Liaison (EPOL) has already been selected, please provide his or her name, contact information, and a brief description of his or her background and skills:

Well, Alex Dobrianski was selected (for now) because only he can fully answer any questions about “Team B” and project. Contact information: e-mail, cell ph. 1-604-306-1526, mailing address: #1407 – 950 Cambie st. Vancouver BC, V6B 5X5, Canada.

If your EPOL has not yet been selected, how and when do you expect to select that


If in the future somebody with better skills and knowledge in Liaison’s area will step-up to perform EPOL’s role at “Team B” then that role will be transferred to such person.


Creative Commons Licence
Design and Development by Team Plan B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.