Update for the Google Lunar XPRIZE

The goal to initiate launch to the Moon by Dec. 31, 2017, and other Moon 2.0 conditions have been replaced by new Mission Requirements.

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Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP) has updated its Mission since CW’s April 2017 article. The goal to initiate launch to the Moon by Dec. 31, 2017, and other Moon 2.0 conditions have been replaced by new Mission Requirements. The Grand Prize of $20 million will be awarded to the first team to complete the Mission Requirements, as defined below:

Landing – A team must land its craft on the surface of the Moon after providing advance notice of its launch and intended landing site to XPRIZE.

Mobility – After landing, a team must move its craft a distance of at least five hundred meters below, on, or above the lunar surface along an interesting path in a deliberate manner. The distance can be a straight line or may be a series of waypoints approved by the Judging Panel.

Mooncasts – A team must transmit two “Mooncasts” from the surface of the Moon. The first Mooncast would be after lunar arrival and the second would be at the completion of the mobility requirements. Each Mooncast must contain eight minutes of video in both high definition (720p) and near real time transmitted as high priority that can be in a lower resolution, a panoramic photograph to give a 360° view of the arrival or mission completion site, images showing a substantial portion of the craft and payload, and set of data provided by XPRIZE including a video and audio message, an email, and a text message. Prior to their launch the team must submit technical details of their mission for review by the Judging Panel.

Data Uplink – A team must transmit to the craft as much as one hundred kilobytes of data provided by XPRIZE and then retransmit that data from their craft back to Earth.

Payload – A team must carry a payload consisting of a data disk and commemorative plaque to the surface of the Moon. The data disk will be mounted in a manner that permits easy removal from the cra_ftso that it can be accessed by future Lunar explorers.

Private Funding – A team must not receive government funding in excess of 10% of its total mission cost. This limitation includes the value of in-kind support or as well as any discounts they receive on the value of services or hardware. In instances when the government purchases or provides services to a team at fair market value, those contributions would not count against the 10% cap. To facilitate review of this requirement XPRIZE will seek the services of an external auditing firm.

Teams have until March 31, 2018, to complete Mission Requirements.

An additional $4.75M in Milestone Prize money will be available to Google Lunar XPRIZE finalist teams for achieving technological milestones along the way to the Moon. Teams can compete for one or both of the following prizes:

Lunar Arrival Milestone Prize — The spacecraft must complete one orbit around the Moon or enter a direct descent approach to the lunar surface to win $1.75M.

Soft Landing Milestone Prize — The spacecraft must transmit data proving it soft-landed on the lunar surface to win $3M.

The Milestone Prize purses will be evenly distributed between all teams who have achieved each milestone by March 31, 2018.

“XPRIZE and Google are thrilled to offer these additional in-space Milestone Prizes as a further incentive for finalist teams and to recognize the full gravity of these bold technological feats taking place in the race to the Moon,” said Chanda Gonzales-Mowrer, senior director, Google Lunar XPRIZE.

Earlier this year, XPRIZE announced the five finalist teams with verified launch contracts, which remain the same: SpaceIL (Israel), Moon Express (USA), Synergy Moon (International), TeamIndus (India) and HAKUTO (Japan). Additional, XPRIZE established a mission completion deadline of March 31, 2018, regardless of the initiation date, in order for teams to win the Grand or Second-Place Prizes.