X Prize Relaunches The Private Moon Race Without Google’s Sponsorship

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Google terminated its decade-long sponsorship of the Google Lunar X Prize a while ago, but the private race to the moon is back on without its help. Google Lunar X Prize was a $30 million moon race that was seeking to spur exploration and commercial spaceflight.

Yesterday, April 5, X Prize Foundation, a non-profit organization, announced that it decided to relaunch the race as a non-cash competition. The contest parameters will be worked out over the upcoming months.

Five teams hope to land on the Moon by 2020

Peter Diamandis, founder and executive chairman of X Prize stated that they are “extraordinarily grateful to Google for funding the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize between September 2007 and March 31, 2018. While that competition is now over, there are at least five teams with launch contracts that hope to land on the lunar surface in the next two years.”

He also added that X Prize is currently looking for their next visionary title sponsor who has the desire to place their logo on the teams and the lunar service as well.

X Prize is making significant progress a new title sponsor would have the responsibility of funding contingent cash purses.

Google Lunar X Prize called for teams that were funded privately to land a robotic spaceship on the moon, move it at least 1,640 feet aka 500 meters on the lunar surface and broadcast HD imagery back to Earth.

The first team who would have been able to do this would have won $20 million and the second one would have snagged $5 million. There were also more $5 million available for various other accomplishments.

More than two dozen teams entered the competition

Over five years over two dozen teams entered this exciting competition, but none of them ended up meeting the shifting deadline.

This was originally set by the end of 2012, but after that, it got pushed back a few times. The final deadline was 31 March 2018.

Moon Express founder and CEO Bob Richards applauded XPrize’s decision to continue their Lunar X Prize even without a title sponsor.

“While we plan to win this moon race and are committed to carrying the Lunar X Prize logo, the real opportunity is in opening the lunar frontier and the multibillion-dollar industry that follows,” he said.


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