Moon Express Inc. (San Francisco, Calif., USA), a privately funded lunar transportation and data services company, on Oct. 26 announced its official entry into the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a $30 million competition that challenges space professionals and engineers from across the globe to build and launch to the Moon a privately funded spacecraft capable of completing a series of exploration and transmission tasks. Team MoonEx is among 24 teams from a dozen countries that are competing for their share of the $30 million prize purse.
Moon Express is also among six U.S. companies awarded a contract by NASA, the U.S. civil space agency, as part of its $30 million Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data (ILDD) program. The ILDD contract is for the purchase of technical data resulting from industry efforts to develop vehicle capabilities and demonstrate end-to-end robotic lunar landing missions. The data from these contracts will inform NASA in the development of future human and robotic lander vehicles and exploration systems.
"The Google Lunar X PRIZE and NASA's Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data program are very exciting competitions that represent the knee in the curve of opportunity for the commercial lunar industry," said Moon Express team leader, Dr. Robert Richards.
"We are very excited to have Moon Express as one of our Google Lunar X PRIZE teams," remarked William Pomerantz, senior director for Space Prizes at the X PRIZE Foundation. "With NASA already signed on as a customer, Moon Express enters the competition on great footing, and promises to be an extremely strong competitor."