Every space mission begins with a rocket launch and the mission planned by White Label Space is no different. The launch will place the spacecraft in a parking orbit above the earth before it is propelled further to LTO (Lunar Transfer Orbit). From here the spacecraft follows an orbit which brings it increasingly under the effect of the moon’s gravity until, after a three day journey, it reaches the moon.
The launch will be carried out using one of three low-cost launch vehicles with which the spacecraft stack designed by White Label Space is compatible; the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-XL) developed in India, Russia’s Soyuz Fregat or SpaceX’s Falcon 9.
The larger size of the Soyuz Fregat and Falcon-9 launchers allows for additional payload capacity. These launch vehicles could carry one or more other passenger spacecraft to LTO, potentially including other GLXP competitors. This would considerably reduce the launch costs incurred by each organisation and so offers a clear financial advantage to any private or government funded missions.
While the Soyuz and Falcon launch vehicles can deliver a payload directly to LTO the PSLV-XL does not have this capability and so an additional rocket would be needed to perform what is known as a TLI procedure (Trans Lunar Injection). Once the TLI stage rocket has inserted the stack into LTO, it separates and is discarded, leaving the three remaining components of the spacecraft stack; the braking stage, Lander and Rover, to continue on their course to the lunar surface.