Big Prize Teams with Big Oil: X Prize Snags $9 Million Shell Sponsorship Deal

PLAYA VISTA, CA / NEW YORK CITY (October 06, 2011) — The X PRIZE Foundation, the leading nonprofit organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, global incentivized competitions, today announced Shell as the exclusive presenting sponsor of the X PRIZE Exploration Prize Group, which aims to foster innovation through exploration to improve life on Earth. During the three-year, nine million dollar sponsorship, the X PRIZE Foundation will address these objectives through its incentive prize model to stimulate innovation, competition and collaboration at the frontiers of space, our earth and its oceans.

“Shell has long been on the cutting edge of innovation, and we are proud to bring them into the X PRIZE family, supporting a prize group that advances innovation, exploration and tomorrow’s discoveries,” said Peter Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation. “We are closely aligned in our goals to motivate and inspire brilliant innovators from all disciplines to leverage their intellectual capital to explore new frontiers that could result in significant global achievements.”

(more…)

X Prize, LEGO Announce Winners of MoonBots 2.0 Competition

Team LegoAces. (Credit: Team LegoAces)

PLAYA VISTA, CA (August 31, 2011) —The X PRIZE Foundation and LEGO Group announced today winners of the MoonBots 2.0: A Google Lunar X PRIZE LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Challenge. The competition challenges teams of students ages 9 to 17 to design, program and build robots that simulate lunar missions mirroring the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE international competition for privately funded teams to build a rover to land on and explore the Moon’s surface.

The Grand Prize winner, Team LegoAces (Granville, OH), earned a VIP trip to LEGOLAND Florida® in October. Team Just Ducky (Woodbury, MN) was awarded second place and third place went to Team Lunar Lords (Bellevue, WA). All three teams will receive free team registration for the 2012 FIRST® robotics season.

(more…)

Will Lunar Competitors Forego the Google Lunar X Prize Over IP Rights?

Sometime during the next 3 years, a rocket will sit on a launch pad in Florida or elsewhere in the world containing a lunar lander and rover built to win the Google Lunar X Prize. Only, the team launching it might no longer be in the competition.

Why would a team turn down a minimum of $20 million in prize money for a mission that costs many times that amount?

That’s an excellent question. And a fascinating tale. Read on.

(more…)

GLXP Competitor Next Giant Leap Gets $1 Million to Build Lunar Hoppers

Move Over, Rover: Next Giant Leap Gets $1 Million Grant To Build Hopping Moon Landers
Tech Crunch

Next Giant Leap in Boulder, Colorado— a startup that’s making robots that will land and hop around on the surfaces of other planets in order to gather data, detect resources valuable to humans, and more — attained a $1 million grant from the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, to advance their technology and pursue the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize in 2012, the companies revealed today.

(more…)

Moon Express Enters Google Lunar X Prize

MOON EXPRESS PRESS RELEASE

Today, Moon Express Inc, a privately funded lunar transportation and data services company, 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, headquartered in San Francisco, CA, is among 24 teams from a dozen countries that are competing for their share of the $30 million prize purse.

(more…)

Diamandis Wins No Boundaries Award from The Economist

Congratulations to X PRIZE Founder Peter Diamandis, who has been awarded The Economist’s No Boundaries award as part of the weekly magazine’s 2010 Innovation Awards. Recipients were honored last week in London.

THE ECONOMIST PRESS RELEASE

Peter H. Diamandis, a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur and aerospace expert who is founder and chief executive of the X Prize Foundation, is awarded the ‘No Boundaries’ Economist Innovation Award today. Mr Diamandis has spurred innovation by offering prizes to encourage and inspire achievement by innovators in the aerospace, genomics and automotive industries since 2004.

(more…)

X PRIZE Raises $210,000 as James Cameron and Fellow Millionaires Go ZERO-G

Avatar Director/Producer James Cameron floats weightless in Zero G along with X PRIZE Trustees in a flight to raise funds for the X PRIZE Foundation. Left to right: Rob McEwen (Chairman, US Gold), James Cameron, Peter H. Diamandis (Chairman/CEO, X PRIZE), Elon Musk (Chairman/CEO, SpaceX), Jim Gianopulos (Chairman/CEO, Fox Filmed Entertainment). Photo credit: Steve Boxall

James Cameron and Friends Soar Weightless in the Avatar Zero-G Experience to Support The X PRIZE Foundation
X PRIZE Foundation Press Release

This special flight assembled a group of 30 individuals who are passionate about the science and technology represented in AVATAR and mission and innovation of the X PRIZE Foundation. Three spots were reserved for the winners of an eBay auction, in which the general public went head-to-head in a bidding war to snag a coveted seat aboard the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. An additional 20 seats were sold for $15,000 each. The weightless experience took place aboard G-FORCE ONE, a specially modified, FAA-approved, Boeing 727-200 aircraft which departed from Van Nuys Airport. The flight, identical to those used by NASA to train its astronauts, provided guests the chance to fly like Superman and flip like an Olympic gymnast, as ZERO-G creates Martian (1/3-gravity), Lunar (1/6-gravity) and zero gravity conditions over the course of 15 parabolic arcs.

(more…)

Musk, Venter, Cameron and Diamandis on X PRIZE Microgravity Flight

Participants experience microgravity aboard a Zero-G Corporation parabolic flight. (PRNewsFoto/Zero Gravity Corporation, Al Powers)

X Prize Founder Peter Diamandis just Tweeted:

“Flying into Zero G today with James Cameron, Jim Gianopulos, Craig Venter, Elon Musk and a number of X PRIZE trustees and donors!”

Cameron, of course, is the director of “Avatar.” Elon Musk is founder of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla Motors. Craig Venter is a venture capitalist and biologist best known for his pioneering work in sequencing the human genome and creating the first cell with a synthetic genome earlier. And Jim Gianopulos is co-chairman-CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment.

Last month, X Prize auctioned off three seats aboard a ZERO-G microgravity flight with Cameron on eBay for $30,000 as a fundraiser. The bidders were anonymous, and Diamandis promised there would be “alot of amazing VIPs on this flight.” So, it’s not clear exactly who paid for the tickets.

British Entreprenuer Julian Ranger Backs Astrobotic in Google Lunar X Prize

PRESS RELEASE
Sept. 28, 2010

Julian Ranger, a British entrepreneur, has given his backing to Astrobotic Technology, one of 22 teams competing to put a robot on the moon and win the Google Lunar X PRIZE. All 22 teams meet on 4 & 5 October on the Isle of Man to reveal their progress.

The Google Lunar X PRIZE is a $30 million international competition to land a robot on the surface of the Moon safely, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send images and data back to the Earth.

(more…)

Ansari, Garver to Appear at SFF TEDx Event in New York Next Week

Anousheh Ansari

SFF PRESS RELEASE

The Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) will sponsor the first TEDxMidTownNY event to discuss the continued importance of exploration with X-Prize Cofounder Anousheh Ansari and Deputy Administrator of NASA Lori Garver. TEDxMidTownNY is a local, independently organized event to be held on September 14th, 2010 at 7 PM at the Explorers Club in New York, NY.

A diverse group of scientists, artists, entrepreneurs, adventurers, investors, teachers, and students will share their perspective and leave the event inspired to improve the collective future of humanity through space exploration. Tickets are available now through the Explorers’ Club website.

(more…)

Tim Pickens Leads Powerhouse Group into the Google Lunar X Prize

ROCKET CITY SPACE PIONEERS PRESS RELEASE
Sept. 7, 2010

Today, the Rocket City Space Pioneers – a group of Huntsville businesses, educational institutions and non-profit organizations – announced their 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. Headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama, Team Rocket City Space Pioneers is comprised of seven organizations and is among twenty-three teams from a dozen countries that are registered in the competition.

The Rocket City Space Pioneers, led by Huntsville-based company Dynetics and comprised of Huntsville partners Teledyne Brown Engineering, Andrews Space, Spaceflight Services, Draper Laboratory, the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation, will compete for the Google Lunar X PRIZE with their lunar lander. Leading the team is Tim Pickens, Dynetics’ chief propulsion engineer. No stranger to space competition, Pickens was also the lead propulsion engineer for the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE winning SpaceShipOne team.

(more…)