The Google Lunar XPRIZE Deadline has been officially extended through December 31, 2016, provided that at least one team can provide XPRIZE with documentation of a launch contract by December 31, 2015.
At least one team must provide documentation in order for all teams to be permitted to move on, otherwise XPF will conclude the competition on its original date of December 31, 2015.
In explanation for the deadline extension, vice chairman and president of XPRIZE Robert K. Weiss said, “We continue to see significant progress from our Google Lunar XPRIZE teams, most recently demonstrated in the pursuit of the Milestone Prizes, in which teams exhibited substantial technological achievements that will ultimately support their missions.” He went on to add that “We know the mission we are asking teams to accomplish is extremely difficult and unprecedented, not only from a technological standpoint, but also in terms of the financial considerations. It is for this reason that we have decided to extend the competition timeline. We firmly believe that a whole new economy around low-cost access to the Moon will be the result of the Google Lunar XPRIZE.”
As for the Milestone Prizes, Google and XPRIZE will be awarding up to six million dollars on January 26, 2015, at a private event in the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. These Milestone Prizes will recognize recent technological advancements made by teams in the Landing ($1M each), Mobility ($500,000 each), and Imaging ($250,000 each) areas. Two of these purses have already been announced, including the Mobility and Imaging prizes, won by Astrobotic (U.S.).
Each Milestone prize is awarded by a judging panel of science, aeronautics, and space industry experts that have evaluated many field and technology tests over the past year. Nine of these prizes remain, with four teams still competing: Hakuta (Japan), Team Indus (India), Moon Express (US), and Part-Time Scientists (Germany.)
““Over the past year, the judging panel has been consistently impressed with the progress seen from the five teams selected to contend for the Milestone Prizes,” said David Swanson, chairman, Google Lunar XPRIZE judging panel. “It goes without saying that space exploration comes with a myriad of challenges, yet the enthusiasm and teamwork exhibited by these competitors has been second to none, exceeded only by their adept technical expertise…[We] look forward to awarding additional Milestone Prizes in the coming weeks.”
About the Google Lunar XPRIZE
“The $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE is an unprecedented competition to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. To win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a privately funded team must successfully place a robot on the moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters, and transmits high-definition video and images back to Earth.”
For more information, visit http://www.googlelunarxprize.org.