It appears highly likely that the decade-old Google Lunar X Prize will end on March 31 without a winner following reports out of India that Team Indus has pulled out of the race. The Kenreports that
The launch contract that TeamIndus signed with Antrix Corporation—the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro)—in December 2016, in pursuit of its $30-million Google Lunar XPRIZE goal, has been cancelled. Multiple sources within Isro confirmed the news….
Conservatively speaking, the price tag for the PSLV chartered launch alone is said to be upwards of $20 million; the cost of building and testing the moon rover is several million more. It’s learnt TeamIndus couldn’t pony up funds to pay Antrix beyond the initial signing amount. “Isro has cancelled the contract for a lack of compliances and payment issues,” says a person who is close to these developments. He says, “Rahul [Narayan, co-founder TeamIndus] has spoken to all on the floor recently and informed all of Isro’s decision of pulling out of the mission”. TeamIndus did not respond to questions sent by email. Without denying the news, a spokesperson for the company said, “As a company, we’d not comment on this”.
The clock is ticking for the remaining teams in the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize competition.
Barring another extension, they have until March 31 to land a vehicle on moon and travel 500 meters across it to claim the $20 million first prize or $5 million second prize. It’s not clear whether any of them will make the deadline.
BLOOMINGTON, Minnesota, December 22, 2017 (BIS Research PR) — According to a market intelligence report by BIS Research titled “Global Small Satellites Market, Analysis & Forecast, 2017-2021“, the global market is expected to reach $10.10 billion by 2021, growing at a CAGR of 31.9% during the forecast period, 2017 – 2021. In the recent years, small satellites have gained traction owing to the significant mass reduction in the subsystems and components along with higher cost-efficiency. The interest in small satellites has increased significantly during the last few years. Over the past decade, nearly $2.5 billion has been invested in small satellites, of which half of the amount was generated in the last two to three years.
MOJAVE, Calif., July 25, 2017 (Interorbital PR)—The Interorbital team is nearing the completion of its N1 GTV launch vehicle which incorporates IOS’ new high-efficiency CPM 2.0 filament-wound tank assembly, its new rocket engine gimballing system, its new CPM controller, and its new in-house developed guidance system. This finless, single CPM launch vehicle will be used in an upcoming low-altitude test flight. Eleven commercial and educational CubeSat and TubeSat payloads are manifested on this flight.
It looks as if Team SpaceIL is out of the $30 million Google Lunar XPrize.
Quartzreports the Israeli team will not be able to launch its lander/rover to the moon aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster until some time next year — too late to meet the end-of-2017 deadline required to win the prize.
It’s going to be busy year in space in 2017. Here’s a look at what we can expect over the next 12 months.
A New Direction for NASA?
NASA’s focus under the Obama Administration has been to try to commercialize Earth orbit while creating a foundation that would allow the space agency to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030’s.
Whether Mars will remain a priority under the incoming Trump Administration remains to be seen. There is a possibility Trump will refocus the space agency on lunar missions instead.
Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), who is currently viewed as a leading candidate for NASA administrator, has written two blog posts focused on the importance of exploring the moon and developing its resources. Of course, whether Bridenstine will get NASA’s top job is unclear at this time.
MOJAVE (Interorbital PR) — After its successful first commercial launch in 2014, Interorbital Systems’ CPM TV has been refitted and repurposed as the CPM-G (Common Propulsion Module-Guided) to carry out in-flight guidance system testing this spring. This is Test Flight II, the first of our upcoming flights announced in our GLXP blog last November.
In the linked article, Randa details our plans for that test flight, and what’s going on with our tethered testing of Virus-1, the test article for our lunar lander propulsion and guidance systems.
They came to Mojave from near and far — from the dusty desert communities of Lancaster, Boron and Ridgecrest to the snow swept tundra of Sweden — to send Stu Witt off in style. One of the most powerful men in Washington, D.C. played hooky from Congress to wish his friend a happy retirement.
Hundreds of people gathered on Jan. 8 to mark the end of Witt’s nearly 14-year term as CEO and general manager of the Mojave Air and Space Port. The event featured a reception and a long parade of friends and colleagues singing his praises.
SAN FRANCISCO (Team Synergy Moon PR) — Team Synergy Moon, with team partner Interorbital Systems announced their 2016/2017 launch plans at this year’s Google Lunar XPRIZE Teams Summit Conference, held last month at Google and YouTube HQ in Tokyo, Japan. Unlike the other 15 GLXP Teams, Synergy Moon is developing their own Launch Vehicle with team partner Interorbital Systems, led by team members Rod and Randa Milliron, and will not be seeking a launch contract with any other commercial launch provider.
SAN FRANCISCO (Team Synergy Moon PR) — 2015 started with a BANG! as the Google Lunar X PRIZE awarded $6Million in Milestone Prizes. Team Synergy Moon has also been busy, with lots of development work happening at Interorbital Systems for our launch infrastructure, launch vehicle and lunar lander.
MOJAVE, Calif. (Interorbital PR) — In its latest AD-venture, Interorbital Systems, partnering with Nissin/Ajinomoto, and F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, will engage in three progressively more difficult rocket and space-themed cooking challenges, which will culminate in the hardest way to cook Ramen: taking the popular noodles beyond the Karman Line—the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and Outer Space–and returning the dish hot and ready to eat—cooked by the heat of re-entry. Not only will this event be a culinary milestone, the technology created for the project will be applied directly to Interorbital’s future unmanned and manned reentry spacecraft development.
MOJAVE, Calif. (Interorbital PR) — At 12:15 on March 29, 2014, Interorbital Systems’ Common Propulsion Module Test Vehicle (CPM TV) thundered off its mobile launch unit on its maiden flight. The rocket’s 7,500-lb thrust engine performed flawlessly propelling the 1200-lb rocket to Mach 1+ within seconds over the FAR Launch Area. The 30-foot long CPM TV rocket is a boiler-plate test version of the identical rocket units that will make up Interorbital’s modular orbital launch systems.