Photo credits: Spacebit
Spacebit forms partnership at the 2019 International Astronautical Congress
WASHINGTON – London-based Spacebit plans to send a rover small enough to fit in a single cubesat to the moon in 2021 on Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander.

The rover, which walks and jumps on four legs, "is one of the smallest if not the smallest rover in the world," Spacebit Founder Pavlo Tanasyuk told SpaceNewsat the 2019 International Astronautical Congress here.
Spacebit team at the IAC
Credit: Spacebit
Spacebit, a company founded by Tanasyuk in 2014, is focused on two businesses: data and robotics. At IAC, the company was primarily showcasing its robotic technologies.

Spacebit announced plans Oct. 23 to form a partnership with the International Astronautical Federation Regional Group for Latin America and the Caribbean. The Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency and Dereum Labs "will enhance the development of robotic technology for the mission," according to a news release.
Spacebit booth at the IAC event
Tanasyuk, who is Ukrainian, has spent 15 years studying and working in the United Kingdom. Since he was a child, Tanasyuk has wanted to do something space-related. His mother has the proof: a note Tanasyuk wrote when he was nine years old.

Tanasyuk established Spacebit after selling Monexy, a cloud-based Eastern European payment system. In recent months, a couple of new investors joined Tanasyuk in backing the company, Tanasyuk said.

Spacebit's first mission is fully funded and the company has a contract to fly on Peregrine, Tanasyuk said.

Astrobotic announced plans in August to launch its Peregrine lander on a United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur in 2021.

Spacebit also is developing a follow-on mission to send a rover to the moon's surface that would carry and then deploy additional four-legged rovers called spiders.

Spacebit developed its own technology rather than turning to teams previously involved in the Google Lunar X Prize. However, the company is inviting companies and individuals who were vying for the Google Lunar X Prize teams to travel with it to the moon.

"If someone is willing to contribute to this project, we would want them to join our team," Tanasyuk said. "Some of the Google Lunar X Prize teams have great technology."

While Tanasyuk loves space, he said the business is far more difficult than payment systems, where "you transfer money from point A to point B and earn a commission of 0.8 percent."

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About Astrobotic
Astrobotic Technology, Inc. is a space robotics company that seeks to make space accessible to the world. The company's lunar lander, Peregrine, delivers payloads to the Moon for companies, governments, universities, non-profits, and individuals for $1.2 million per kilogram. Astrobotic was selected by NASA in May 2019 for a $79.5 million contract to deliver payloads to the Moon in 2021. The company also has more than 30 prior and ongoing NASA and commercial technology contracts, a commercial partnership with Airbus DS, and a corporate sponsorship with DHL. The company is also an official partner with NASA through the Lunar CATALYST Program. Astrobotic was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA.

About Spacebit

Spacebit is a privately held UK company that is working on space data analytics tools and robotic concepts of space exploration that include AI and advanced microrobotics. The company believes in creating commercially sustainable data and robotics business in space exploration. Spacebit's approach to engineering is to deliver a low cost solution for exploration of celestial bodies. Its goal is creating new opportunities for industry, academia and helping with future development of a new infrastructure and commercial resource exploration on the Moon and beyond. Spacebit is also using distributed ledger technologies to create new data models and democratise access to space.