CSF, X PRIZE Foundation Praise NASA’s Lunar Data Buys


The Commercial Spaceflight Federation strongly welcomes NASA’s announcement earlier this month that the space agency will purchase data generated by innovative lunar robotic missions being prepared by six commercial space companies in pursuit of the Google Lunar X PRIZE, through the space agency’s new $30.1 million Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data program.

The X PRIZE Foundation, which administers the Google Lunar X PRIZE, explained that, “NASA awarded small, firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts worth at least $10,000 to these companies [Astrobotic, Next Giant Leap, Rocket City Space Pioneers, Omega Envoy, Frednet, and Moon Express] making them eligible to make later sales of lunar data worth as much as $10 million through the Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data program.

In exchange, each of these companies will provide NASA with unique and valuable data regarding the demonstration of critical technical components required to mount successful, low cost missions to the lunar surface. To claim the full $10 million, these teams must supply a variety of data packages as they pass significant milestones in the mission planning and operations; initial data packages worth just over $1 million will be from tests conducted here on Earth, but a majority of the available funding will come from spacecraft en route to or already on the lunar surface.”

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Executive Director John Gedmark stated, “We are exceptionally pleased to see NASA supporting the Google Lunar X PRIZE in such a visible fashion.  By paying for results and for milestones delivered, NASA will be able to deliver high value for the taxpayer while at the same time fostering innovative space companies.”

William Pomerantz, Senior Director for Space Prizes at the X PRIZE Foundation, stated, “These contracts send a clear signal to the investment community that NASA is ready to purchase lunar data, even from small, entrepreneurial firms. This will give a huge momentum boost not just to the companies selected today, but to all of the Google Lunar X PRIZE teams and other companies hoping to sell unique lunar data to NASA and other space agencies at competitive rates.”