The Barcelona-based company, Galactic Suite, leading the industrial conglomerate, Barcelona Moon Team, announced June 2015 as the new date to launch the Spanish robot to the Moon in its attempt to win the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE.
The Google Lunar XPRIZE, the largest incentivized competition offered to date, challenges people from across the globe to build and launch a privately funded spacecraft to the moon. Once landing on the moon, the spacecraft must also complete a series of exploration and transmission tasks. The Google Lunar XPRIZE is one of three active competitions from XPRIZE Foundation, a leading organization solving some of the world’s biggest challenges by creating and managing large-scale, global competitions that stimulate investment in research and development, often worth far more than the prize itself.
Mr. Xavier Claramunt, Galactic Suite president and Barcelona Moon Team leader, and China Great Wall Industry Corporation officials signed an amendment to the launch service contract that formalizes the agreement through which the Chinese company that will provide launch services to the Spanish team.
“The shift to June 2015 updates the Barcelona Moon Team schedule according to the technical development of the lander module, which will be assembled partially in Spain and partially in China”, says Claramunt.
Most of the lander systems are developed and assembled in Spain, except for the propulsion sub-system, a critical part that will be provided by CGWIC. This process requires the lander to be shipped to China and back to Spain with a considerable complexity due to technology export issues.
“The assembly of the propulsion system in China requires modifying our technical calendar” added Claramunt, “but considering the benefits of using the Chinese propulsion technology, it definitely pays off”.
The original contract was signed in August 2012 and states that CGWIC provide the services of a Long March 2C launcher with an upper stage CTS2 for insertion into the lunar transfer orbit. The launcher will carry the Spanish lander module that, once released, will make the correction and deceleration operations for insertion into lunar orbit before landing on the lunar surface.
For the partners of the space industrial consortium, the success of the mission will mean developing qualification of technology and capabilities in complex missions resulting in a competitive advantage for the future.