6 April 2010, Tuesday

    Russia's only Google Lunar X PRIZE Team, Selenokhod, announces that Dr. Mikhail Malenkov, Dr. Vyacheslav Dovgan and Dr. Ephraim Akim have been appointed as the first members of its new Advisory Board.
    Dr. Mikhail Malenkov is a highly respected scientist and engineer who has authored over 100 technical papers, and 5 books. He created 32 patented inventions, and was responsible for the design of the "Lunokhod" wheels as well as the drive mechanism for the Phobos-1 and Phobos-2 landers. He designed the chassis used on various planet rover prototypes, the mechanical arm of the Buran spacecraft, and, space hardware for the Mir space station and the Russian Mars-96 project, among others. Also, he helped to create the STR-1 mobile robot, and headed the group of specialists who controlled this robot during the removal of radioactive debris from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant after the massive explosion at this facility.
    Dr. Vyacheslav Dovgan is a prominent space hardware expert. As the chief operator of both Soviet Lunokhod lunar rovers, he drove Lunokhod-2 from the Luna-21 lander during this rover's record-setting trek across the surface of the Moon in 1973.
    Dr. Ephraim Akim is an associate director of the Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics in Moscow. A leading Russian specialist in the field of space ballistics, Dr. Akim is a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He was responsible for ballistics and navigational support on almost all Soviet and Russian space missions from 1965 until the present including the Luna-16 mission -- the first robotic probe to land on the Moon and return with a lunar sample to Earth -- Soyuz, Salyut, Mir, Vega and many others.
    "As important contributors to various chapters in the history of modern space exploration, the members of our Advisory Board have achieved extraordinary results on numerous occasions. Their record of accomplishment is well known. Their participation in our project, and their enthusiasm for the private space race in general, will greatly enhance our team's chances for success by providing key technical insights based on their decades of experience. Their presence will also greatly increase the strength of our team from both a scientific and an investment standpoint," said Nikolay Dzis-Voynarovskiy, Selenokhod CEO.
    "The chief designer of the Soviet lunar rover's chassis, Alexander Kemurdzhian, told me that the reason why his team was capable of creating a highly successful Lunokhod-1 rover -- doing so without any detailed knowledge of the Moon surface -- is that the team was so young. The average age of Kemurdzhian's team was about 30 years which is the same average age as the Selenokhod team. That's why I believe Selenokhod can solve all the engineering problems," said Mikhail Malenkov.