The X PRIZE Foundation today announced two new teams and a new Preferred Partner in the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a robotic race to the Moon to win a remarkable $30 million in prizes.
These two teams join the international group of teams that will compete to land a privately funded robotic craft on the Moon that is capable of roaming the lunar surface for at least 500 meters and sending video, images and data back to the Earth.
The announcement was made at the AGI Users’ Conference, held in Chicago on October 7-9, 2008. Google Lunar X PRIZE teams were invited to attend the conference to learn about the services that Analytical Graphics, Inc. will be offering as a Google Lunar X PRIZE preferred partner.
Will Pomerantz, Senior Director for Space Projects at the X PRIZE Foundation, spoke at the conference about the Google Lunar X PRIZE and introduced the new teams and partner. “We are thrilled to add our first team from Florida and our second team from Malaysia to the roster of competitors. Both these teams will add an exciting element to the competition,” said Pomerantz.
As a preferred partner, AGI will provide each Google Lunar X PRIZE team with nearly $200,000 worth of complimentary software and engineering services. “AGI’s software is unsurpassed and will bring critical new capabilities to the competing teams,” said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation. “This modeling and visualization software will be a great asset for the teams. We are delighted to welcome AGI as a preferred partner for the Google Lunar X PRIZE.”
The two new teams are:
Independence-X Aerospace: Independence-X Aerospace is based in Malaysia and is lead by Mohd Izmir Yamin, who has extensive experience in rocket propulsion and robotic control systems.
Independence-X Aerospace is composed of team members who have served in various engineering and business fields as professional engineers, technologists and academics. They believe one of their primary advantages is their strategic geographical location, which they hope will help to reduce launch costs and utilize abundant direct solar reception. The team has also formed an academic and technical partnership with a Malaysian university, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM). In addition, the Malaysian Entrepreneurs Development Center (MEDEC) will support the team with business advice.
Omega Envoy: Omega Envoy is led by Ruben Nunez, Jason Dunn, and Justin Karl, all students at the University of Central Florida. Their company, Earthrise Space, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that was founded by a group of students and professionals in Central Florida with the common goal of advancing private and commercial space exploration.
The Omega Envoy project, their entry into the Google Lunar X PRIZE, will help realize these goals and expand the horizons of human space exploration. Through outreach to all academic and professional levels, coupled with synergistic business relationships, they hope to maintain Florida’s position as the global leader in the space industry.
They join the twelve currently registered teams:
Odyssey Moon: Based in the Isle of Man, Odyssey Moon is a private commercial lunar enterprise and is developing the “MoonOne (M-1)” spacecraft.
Astrobotic: Based in the United States, Astrobotic is led by Dr. William “Red” Whittaker, winner of the DARPA 2007 Urban Challenge.
Team Italia: Based in Italy, Team Italia involves several Italian universities and companies.
Micro-Space: Based in the United States, Micro-Space is a former Ansari X PRIZE competitor and is a current competitor in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge.
Mystery Team: Google Lunar X PRIZE teams have the option of officially registering but remaining anonymous until July 20, 2009; this team has chosen to keep their identity a secret for the moment.
FREDNET: A multi-national team, FREDNET is a 100% open source team.
Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association (ARCA): Based in Valcea, Romania, ARCA is a former Ansari X PRIZE competitor.
LunaTrex: Based in the United States, LunaTrex is developing a craft named “Tumbleweed.”
Chandah: Based in the United States, Chandah means “Moon” in Sanskrit.
Advaeros: Based in Malaysia, Team Advaeros is led by Hanidy Yusof, who founded the Malaysian company Advanced Aerospace Industries.
STELLAR: Based in North Carolina and led by Dick Dell, Team STELLAR includes team members from Insight Technologies, the Advanced Vehicle Research Center, and North Carolina State University.
JURBAN: Started in 2000, the JuxtopiaÂ® Group, Inc. is led by Dr. Jayfus T. Doswell; the JURBAN team will be made up of professional and student engineers.
More information about each of the teams can be found at www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams.