A year after a $20 million prize purse expired, a team in the former Google Lunar X Prize competition could still pick up a smaller consolation prize if it lands on the moon next month.
Two former competitors in the Google Lunar X Prize are continuing to pursue commercial lunar landers that could launch as soon as late 2019.
SpaceIL, the Israeli team in the Google Lunar X Prize competition, says it needs to raise $7.5 million in less than a week in order to complete its lander and retain its launch contract.
With less than four months remaining in the competition, two of the remaining teams in the Google Lunar X Prize are seeking to raise tens of millions of dollars to complete their spacecraft.
After months of stating that it would offer no further extensions of the Google Lunar X Prize competition, the X Prize Foundation announced Aug. 16 it was effectively giving the five remaining teams a little extra time.
Moon Express, a company developing commercial lunar landers, said July 12 its first mission is still on schedule to launch by the end of this year in a bid to win the Google Lunar X Prize.
Moon Express announced Jan. 13 that it has closed a $20 million financing round, giving the company sufficient funds for an attempt to win the Google Lunar X Prize later this year.
The French space agency, CNES, will supply two spacecraft cameras to a team from India competing for the Google Lunar X Prize, and has tightened its partnership with India to study reusable launch technology.
Teams competing in the Google Lunar X Prize, facing an end-of-the-year deadline to obtain a verified launch contract, may not know until some time in January if they will be able to continue in their race to the moon.
Team Hakuto, a Japanese group competing for the Google Lunar X Prize, announced Dec. 20 it has a verified contract to fly its rover on another team’s lander in 2017 after its initial partner dropped out of the competition.
TeamIndus, an Indian team competing in the Google Lunar X Prize, announced Dec. 1 it has a launch contract for its lunar lander mission with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).