GLXP News: Barcelona Moon Team Signs Agreement for Chinese Launch

Barcelona, ​​March 19, 2012 (BMT PR) — Barcelona Moon Team, the only Spanish based team in the Google Lunar X PRIZE, has signed an agreement with China Great Wall Industry Corporation.  The agreement completes the team’s capabilities in the lunar mission areas requiring the entry of foreign technology partners. The Chinese company will provide the team with the launch vehicle and propulsion system to place the Barcelona Moon Team spacecraft into lunar orbit, from where it can deploy the robot that ultimately will conduct the international competition objectives. To win the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a privately-funded team must successfully place a robot on the Moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high definition video and images back to Earth.

This alliance complements an industrial consortium that is working to make the mission possible during the second half of 2014. Established in 2010 and led by Galactic Suite and ALTRAN, the consortium includes all Spain’s leading space companies (in chronological order of incorporation: CTAE, UPC, GMV, EADS CASA Espacio, Thales Alenia Space Spain and INTA). The team in Spain has already completed a successful study phase. This agreement adds China Great Wall Industry Corporation, a Chinese National corporation commercializing services provided by the Chinese National Institutes.

“Along with the technical agreement, the Chinese contribution to the project provides a vital step forward in securing sponsorship from private companies to finance the launch” stated the Barcelona Moon Team leader Xavier Claramunt. “This allows Spanish sponsors to concentrate on the most important part of the mission: landing on the Moon and complete the rest of the Google Lunar X PRIZE objectives”.

Other consequences of the agreement

The choice of a Chinese launcher for the Barcelona Moon Team has other consequences of great importance to the mission and future capabilities of the Spanish industry. Being strictly forbidden by the USA to launch American security-sensitive technology onboard Chinese launchers, the Spanish mission has been designed not to have American components that may interfere with the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR). This regulation is preventing many American companies to bring their products to the market. However, it is already exploited by other international companies, which see a market niche to develop alternative technology to avoid that ban in the satellite construction.

A mission looking at the future

Barcelona Moon Team’s success in this mission will open the door to the Spanish space industry to lead other complex missions in the future. Thus the team has designed its mission to carry up to 25Kg extra payload in addition to the Google Lunar X PRIZE objectives dedicated rover. That extra payload is being offered to commercial and pharmaceutical companies, universities and even the national agencies, which may see in the Spanish mission a test bed for future mission to our satellite.

“The greatest contribution of the Barcelona Moon Team is to offer to the Spanish space industry the opportunity to carry out a highly complex mission, with private funding and national leadership. It represents a training and demonstration mission that will certainly seize a competitive advantage for future missions”, said Claramunt.

Barcelona Moon Team

Is the only Spanish-based team to enter the competition and gathers together private companies, universities and technology centers. The team is led by Galactic Suite Moonrace, a company fostering the low-cost access to space, and Altran, a multinational technological partner. Other members joining the team are, in chronological order, the Aerospace Technology Center (CTAE), based in Barcelona, and the Technical University of Catalonia, contributing with robotics and nanoengineering; and the Madrid based companies GMV, specialized in mission analysis, navigation and onboard control systems, and all elements of the ground segment, and technical leader of the mission; EADS CASA Espacio, the leading  Spanish prime contractor and responsible of the landing platform; THALES ALENIA SPACE España, leading communications company, and the National Aerospace Technology Insitute (INTA), contributing with systems on the rover and landing platform, as well as operational support with the ground stations of Maspalomas and Robledo de Chavela.

China Great Wall Industry Corporation

Established in 1980, China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) is the sole commercial organization authorized by the Chinese government to provide satellites, commercial launch services and to carry out international space cooperation. CGWIC is devoted to the internationalized development of China’s space industry by providing comprehensive solutions for commercial launch services, satellite export, satellite ground tracking and control station construction, satellite applications, project financing, project insurance and technical training, etc.

Google Lunar X PRIZE

The $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE is an unprecedented competition to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. To win the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a privately-funded team must successfully place a robot on the Moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high definition video and images back to Earth. The first team to do so will claim a $20 million Grand Prize, while the second team will earn a $5 million Prize. Teams are also eligible to win a $1 million award for stimulating diversity in the field of space exploration and as much as $4 million in bonus prizes for accomplishing additional technical tasks such as moving ten times as far, surviving the frigid lunar night, or visiting the site of a previous lunar mission.

X PRIZE Foundation

Founded in 1995, the X PRIZE Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself. The organization motivates and inspires brilliant innovators from all disciplines to leverage their intellectual and financial capital for the benefit of humanity. The X PRIZE Foundation conducts competitions in four Prize Groups: Education & Global Development; Energy & Environment; Life Sciences; and Exploration (Ocean and Deep Space). Prizes won include the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private, suborbital space flight; the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE for creating safe, affordable, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPG energy equivalent (MPGe); the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X PRIZE CHALLENGE for advanced rocket development; and the $1.4 million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE. Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the $10 million Archon Genomics X PRIZE.