Published: Thu, January 25, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

The Google Lunar Xprize competition will end without a victor

The Google Lunar Xprize competition will end without a victor

"We are thankful to the teams for their decade of hard work, and acknowledge that a number of our teams are now, finally building flight ready hardware, contracting with launch providers and are close to being able to make their attempt to land on the Moon".

So far, no contenders look set to meet the March 31 deadline-and Google isn't planning to extend it again, CNBC reported. They also recognize that the teams working to win the competition are possibly close to actually launching and suggest that the competition could continue on either with a new sponsor supplying the prize money or as a non-cash competition.

After 10 years and several deadline extensions, the XPrize Foundation has ended the Google Lunar XPrize competition without a victor.

Spaceflight Insider contacted the XPRIZE Foundation and they replied with the following statement from Peter H. Diamandis, Founder & Executive Chairman, XPRIZE & Marcus Shingles, Chief Executive Officer, XPRIZE.

A CONTRACT to fly India's first-ever private space mission to the moon on the PSLV rocket of the Indian Space Research Organisation, as part of the Google Lunar XPrize contest, has been cancelled, ISRO's commercial arm Antrix Corporation confirmed Wednesday.

Moon Express is not just interested in Xprize.

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While the US$20 million grand prize will go unclaimed, those familiar with the Lunar Xprize and the teams involved were still positive about what was accomplished.

The X Prize Foundation, founded in 1995 and based in Culver City, Calif., provides multimillion dollar awards in contests that bring forth radical breakthroughs in science, medicine, energy, education and other areas. It even has more than one former Isro scientists/engineers on its team, and was hoping for a smooth run, with even Prime Minister having praised their efforts. A US$20 million prize was offered to the first collective to achieve this goal, with an additional $10 million devoted to milestone prizes.

Out of an initial batch of 30, only five finalists remained in the game: SpaceIL (Israel), Moon Express (United States), TeamIndus (India), HAKUTO (Japan), and Synergy Moon (International).

"As a result of this competition, we have sparked the conversation and changed expectations with regard to who can land on the Moon". They said they are disappointed to have no victor this time, but that they are proud of the impact that the Google Lunar Xprize has achieved so far. This sentiment pretty much sums it up: "In conclusion, it's incredibly hard to land on the moon".

XPRIZE is exploring other avenues to keep the competition alive. The successful teams had all agreed launch contracts.

The Lunar XPrize competition launched in 2008 as a follow-up to the first Ansari X Prize, which challenged teams to produce the first privately-funded spacecraft capable of making it into space.

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