Blue Origin and Airbus back ‘The Moon Race’

Moon balloon

Organizers of “The Moon Race” and their partners lift a moon-festooned balloon as they unveil their effort at a space conference in Germany. (The Moon Race via Twitter)

A new nonprofit organization is partnering with Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture, Airbus and other heavy-hitters to create a moon-centric prize program known as “The Moon Race.”

The contest’s goal is to boost technologies that could contribute to sustainable lunar exploration. A lot of the details, however, are still up in the air — including exactly what those technologies will be, and how much the prizes will amount to.

The project’s German organizers say more will be revealed next year, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. Between now and then, they plan to nail down the details in league with Blue Origin and Airbus, as well as the European Space AgencyMexico’s space agency and Vinci Construction.

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SEC settlement buoys Tesla share prices

Tesla Model 3

Tesla has been hustling to deliver Model 3 cars at the end of its financial third quarter. (Tesla Photo)

Tesla’s share price jumped today as dramatically as it fell on Sept. 28, thanks largely to this weekend’s settlement of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s complaints against the company and its CEO, Elon Musk.

After falling 14 percent on Sept. 28, the stock rose 17 percent today, leaving the closely watched price at $310.70 at the close. That’s above the level it held during Sept. 27’s trading hours, just before the SEC announced that it was charging Musk with securities fraud.

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Paul Allen says cancer is back, but voices optimism

Paul Allen

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen sits in on a GeekWire interview in 2017. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Nine years after he underwent treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a potentially fatal but treatable form of cancer, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says the disease has returned.

On Twitter and in a blog post, the 65-year-old billionaire investor, philanthropist and self-described “Idea Man” says he and his physicians are optimistic about his chances. Allen intends to stay involved with his Vulcan Inc. holding company and the research institutes that he’s founded, as well as the sports teams that he owns, the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers.

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Moon Express brings in $12.5M to boost lunar plans

Moon Express spacecraft

An artist’s conception shows Moon Express’ MX-1E spacecraft making its approach to the moon. (Moon Express Illustration)

Moon Express, which aims to start missions to the moon within the next couple of years, says it has raised $2.5 million in bridge financing and has begun a $20 million Series B financing round, anchored by a $10 million lead investor.

Proceeds will go toward building out facilities in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and developing the spacecraft for its commercial lunar flight program, the company said today in a news release.

Since its founding in 2010, Moon Express has been working on a space transport system that’s been called a “FedEx for space.” The company, which has Seattle-area entrepreneur Naveen Jain as its co-founder and executive chairman, was a competitor for the Google Lunar X Prize. Although the prize went unwon, Moon Express is continuing to work on a series of spacecraft for trips to the moon and other off-Earth destinations with backing from NASA’s Lunar CATALYST program.

Moon Express’ co-founder and CEO, Bob Richards, announced the new financing at The World Innovation Network Global Summit in Chicago.

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How Boeing CEO plants seeds of tomorrow’s tech

Dennis Muilenburg

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg grew up on a farm in Iowa. (Boeing Photo)

Dennis Muilenburg is leading Boeing into a second century of innovation with dreams of hypersonic flight, self-flying planes and journeys to Mars. But to lead the way, the 102-year-old company’s CEO, chairman and president turns to the values he learned from his dad growing up on a farm in northwest Iowa.

“He was never a big business executive, but at his core he taught me about integrity, the value of hard work, the fundamentals,” Muilenburg, 54, recalled during a recent conference on innovation. “And even in a big business, those work.”

Boeing certainly qualifies as a big business, and since Muilenburg took on the top post in 2015, the company’s ambitions have become even bigger.

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Elon Musk agrees to resign as Tesla chairman

Elon Musk

Elon Musk in Seattle in 2015. (GeekWire Photo / Taylor Soper)

By Todd Bishop and Alan Boyle

Elon Musk has agreed to step down as Tesla’s chairman for three years but will remain CEO of the electric car maker, under the terms of documents filed today to settle a securities fraud case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Musk will also pay a $20 million penalty to settle charges sparked by his Aug. 7 tweets about a plan to take Tesla private. Tesla will pay an additional $20 million, the SEC said in a news release.

In addition, Tesla agreed to appoint two new independent directors to its board, establish a new committee of independent directors and implement procedures to oversee Musk’s communications via Twitter and other avenues.

Neither Musk nor Tesla admitted wrongdoing as part of the agreement, according to court papers. But Musk will be required to comply with Tesla’s new procedures for social-media posts, updates on the company’s website and blog, and statements made in news releases or during investor calls.

Tesla would have to give “pre-approval of any such written communications that contain, or reasonably could contain, information material to the company or its shareholders,” according to court documents.

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Elon Musk calls SEC charges ‘unjustified’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he’s “deeply saddened” by the claims against him. (Tesla via YouTube)

Update: Elon Musk and Tesla settle with SEC.

Tesla’s billionaire CEO and chairman, Elon Musk, is calling the Securities and Exchange Commission’s fraud claims against him “unjustified” after reportedly passing up a settlement deal that would have temporarily forced him from a leadership post.

“This unjustified action by the SEC leaves me deeply saddened and disappointed,” Musk said in a statement distributed Sept. 27 after the SEC filed its civil complaint. “I have always taken action in the best interests of truth, transparency and investors. Integrity is the most important value in my life and the facts will show I never compromised this in any way.”

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