GLXP Update: XPRIZE Verifies Launch Agreement for Team SYNERGY MOON

The moon rising over Half Moon Bay, California on Halloween 2009. (Credit: Douglas Messier)
The moon rising over Half Moon Bay, California on Halloween 2009. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

LOS ANGELES (XPRIZE PR) — Today, XPRIZE officially verified Team SYNERGY MOON’s launch agreement as part of the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, a global competition for privately funded teams to land an unmanned spacecraft on the surface of the moon by December 31, 2017. The SYNERGY MOON mission will use a NEPTUNE 8 rocket, built and launched by Interorbital Systems, to carry a lunar lander and at least one rover to the surface of the moon, launching from an open-ocean location off the California coast during the second half of 2017.

Team SYNERGY MOON is one of three Google Lunar XPRIZE teams now set to compete in 2017, joining SpaceIL and Moon Express. The remaining 13 teams have until December 31, 2016, for their launch agreements to be verified by XPRIZE in order to proceed in the competition.

“SYNERGY MOON’s launch agreement is a hallmark achievement that we are very proud to verify,” said Chanda Gonzales-Mowrer, senior director, Google Lunar XPRIZE. “In the spirit of XPRIZE’s belief that the power of competition can spur outside-the-box innovation, SYNERGY MOON has blazed their own path and demonstrated that there is more than one way to get to the Moon.”

Team SYNERGY MOON is an international team with working groups in more than 15 countries. The team includes Randa and Roderick Milliron (Interorbital’s co-founders) from the Ansari XPRIZE, the very first XPRIZE competition awarded in 2004 for suborbital spaceflight.

“We decided early on that our focus would be two-fold: creating an alternative launch vehicle and launch process – the most expensive parts of current space missions – and getting more people interested, involved, and invested in the new space age,” said Kevin Myrick, co-founder of Team SYNERGY MOON. “Partnering with launch provider Interorbital Systems allowed the team to aggressively pursue both goals.”

SYNERGY MOON is utilizing a customized rapid-response and low-cost N8 modular rocket system designed, built, and tested by Interorbital Systems at their Mojave Air and Space Port rocket factory and test facility.

To win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a privately funded team must successfully place an unmanned spacecraft on the moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high-definition video and images back to Earth before the mission deadline of December 31, 2017.

About Team SYNERGY MOON

SYNERGY MOON was co-founded in 2009 by Kevin Myrick (USA) and Nebojša Stanojević (Bosnia and Herzegovina). We represent a collaboration of individuals from over 15 countries and our numbers are growing. Our company growth plan involves both private sector funding and the unique inclusion of high-profile sponsorship opportunities. Our technological innovations will make space travel and personal satellite launches available to everyone. Visit http://www.synergymoon.com for more information.

About Interorbital Systems

Interorbital Systems is a rocket, satellite, and spacecraft manufacturing company, founded in 1996 by Roderick and Randa Milliron. It is located at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California, where the company maintains its headquarters/prototyping/manufacturing center and two private rocket engine test sites. Interorbital’s NEPTUNE modular orbital launch system is poised to provide the lowest-cost access to space to date.

About the Google Lunar XPRIZE

The $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE 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 XPRIZE, 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 before the mission deadline of December 31, 2017. Visit http://lunar.xprize.org/ or @GLXP for more information.

  • Andrew_M_Swallow

    I can see pictures of the their rover. Has their lander flown? Has it landed on Earth yet?

  • Aerospike

    I applaud Interorbital Systems and what they are trying to do, BUT with regards to the GLXP, this “launch agreement” is (in my opinion) worthless.
    As far as I know Interorbital’s Neptune family of boosters hasn’t even been to space yet (correct me if I’m wrong) and certainly not in orbit.
    How they think they can launch a payload to the moon within less than 1 and 1/2 years is beyond me.

    And yes, Rocket Labs Electron hasn’t flown yet either, but to me they seem less like “garage project” and I have more confidence in them of reaching their goals (with the usual aerospace delay of a couple of months to years of course :p)

  • Sam Moore

    Best they’ve gotten is a test flight of one module to about 10,000ft. To be fair that’s full-scale hardware, and a lot further than many companies have gotten, but it’s a far cry from the moon.

    The worrying bit is that that flight was in 2014, and they’ve not flown anything since, despite recovering that module intact. They had some stability issues, so you’d think they’d want to refly as soon as possible, but no sign of it.

  • Sylvain

    They hate us because they ain’t us!

  • Sylvain

    They hate us because they ain’t us

  • Sylvain

    What would be the point of reflying as soon as possible if indeed there was a stability issue, better correcting them first. Plus I don’t know where you got that fake info

  • Sam Moore

    If you think it’s fake, you’d better tell Interorbital, because some nasty hacker has put it all up on their own site, complete with the stability issue; http://www.interorbital.com/interorbital_06222015_025.htm

  • Sylvain

    I see what you meant, my bad. Not what i thought

  • Aerospike

    Your comment makes no sense, because nobody here is hating anybody.
    It is just my personal opinion, that a launch by interorbital systems to the moon before the deadline of the GLXP is highly unlikely.
    This does not imply that I have anything against IOS in any way.

    PS: I think chances of success (within the deadline) of rocket lab are also very slim. Just marginally better (but again just my opinion, no fact based reasoning either).