X PRIZE Foundation Holds Team Summit, Introduces Official Contenders in Private Moon Race

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14 Teams Registered to Compete in $30 Million Google Lunar X PRIZE

The X PRIZE Foundation today announced four new teams in the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a robotic race to the Moon to win a remarkable $30 million in prizes, bringing the total number of registered teams to 14. This international group of teams 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.

At a Team Summit for the Google Lunar X PRIZE, held at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France, the 14 teams met with X PRIZE Foundation officials, the competition's preferred partners, and potential future customers. The two-day event also included a Google Lunar X PRIZE-themed competition for university students from several European countries and the United States.

Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, led the Team Summit. "I'm delighted that we have four new teams joining the competition. Our fourteen teams are not only geographically diverse, but have an astounding diversity of ideas and plans. We are thrilled to announce the first Asian X PRIZE team, the first mystery team for the Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the first X PRIZE team from a Historically Black Colleges and Universities partnership." Diamandis added, "The Team Summit has been an excellent opportunity to get to know these teams. We could not ask for a better group of competitors."

"We are excited to host the first Google Lunar X PRIZE Team Summit," said Michael Simpson, President of the International Space University, the school in Strasbourg where the Team Summit was held. "This is truly an international competition, and what better place to showcase the diversity of these teams than here at the International Space University. We look forward to being a part of the innovation we expect to see from these global players."

Also participating in the Team Summit was a representative from Google Headquarters, Tiffany Montague. "Google is proud to partner with the X PRIZE Foundation on the Google Lunar X PRIZE. We believe in entrepreneurship and pushing the boundaries of human discovery, and we know that the new discoveries that come from this effort will benefit us all in the years to come. We have been impressed by the extraordinary response to this prize, particularly the number of registered teams we have had to date, and we're pleased to welcome the four new teams today," said Montague.

The four new teams are:

  • Advaeros: Team Advaeros is led by Hanidy Yusof, who founded the Malaysian company Advanced Aerospace Industries. Advanced Aerospace Industries is a small Research and Development company dealing with smart systems for navigation, robotic application, aeronautical and space related activities. They are a team of enthusiastic technical people who work together for the future dreams of flight, both for fun and for knowledge. They plan to design their own launch vehicle, focusing part of their team on craft design, and the rest on launch vehicle design.
  • JURBAN: Started in 2000, the Juxtopia(R) Group, Inc. is a not-for-profit research organization whose mission is to improve human learning performance with science and technology that adapts to individual learning needs, enhances cognitive performance, and augments human learning capabilities anytime, anywhere, at any pace, and for anyone. The Juxtopia(R) Urban Robotics Brilliant Application National (JURBAN) challenge is a Juxtopia(R) Group program. The JURBAN Challenge Program trains underserved and disadvantaged students to build autonomous service robotic systems that have significant impact in their community. Led by Dr. Jayfus T. Doswell, the JURBAN team will be made up of professional and student engineers.
  • 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. The team plans to highlight educational outreach, and includes volunteers from two schools that participate in the FIRST Robotics competition, which is a national high school competition based in the United States.
  • Mystery Team: Google Lunar X PRIZE teams have the option of officially registering but remaining anonymous until July 20, 2009. One new team has chosen to keep their identity a secret for the moment, but they are still working hard on their mission plan.

They join the ten currently registered teams:

  • Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association (ARCA): Based in Valcea, Romania, ARCA is a former Ansari X PRIZE competitor.
  • Astrobotic: Based in the United States, Astrobotic is led by Dr. William "Red" Whittaker, winner of the DARPA 2007 Urban Challenge.
  • Chandah: Based in the United States, Chandah means "Moon" in Sanskrit.
  • Team FREDNET: A multi-national team, FREDNET is a 100% open source team.
  • LunaTrex: Based in the United States, LunaTrex is developing a craft named "Tumbleweed."
  • 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.
  • Odyssey Moon: Based in the Isle of Man, Odyssey Moon is a private commercial lunar enterprise and is developing the "MoonOne (M-1)" spacecraft.
  • Quantum3: Based in the United States, Quantum3 is comprised of three former top NASA officials.
  • Southern California Selene Group: Based in the United States, SCSG is led by Harold Rosen, who led the effort to build the first successful geostationary satellite, Syncom.
  • Team Italia: Based in Italy, Team Italia involves several Italian universities and companies.

More information about each of the teams can be found at www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams.

The Team Summit also featured a one day competition for student teams from European and U.S. universities. The students competed in a paper design contest based on the Google Lunar X PRIZE. Each team presented both a technical and a business plan to a panel of judges including officials from European and U.S. space agencies and industry experts. There was a tie for first place between the International Space University and the University of Stuttgart, with both teams displaying comprehensive, interdisciplinary excellence, and particularly noted for the maturity and creativity of their financial presentations, which featured ideas like the development of a modular lunar spacecraft design and a concept for future asteroid missions. Supaero was honored with a special mention for the quality of their technical concept, which featured a unique 2-wheeled rover with inflatable wheels and antennae.

ABOUT THE GOOGLE LUNAR X PRIZE

The $30 million prize purse is segmented into a $20 million Grand Prize, a $5 million Second Prize and $5 million in bonus prizes. To win the Grand Prize, a team must successfully soft land a privately funded spacecraft on the Moon, rove on the lunar surface for a minimum of 500 meters, and transmit a specific set of video, images and data back to the Earth. The Grand Prize is $20 million until December 31st, 2012; thereafter it will drop to $15 million until December 31st, 2014, at which point the competition will be terminated unless extended by Google and the X PRIZE Foundation. For more information about the Google Lunar X PRIZE, please visit www.googlelunarxprize.org.

ABOUT THE X PRIZE FOUNDATION

The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured world headlines when Burt Rutan, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world's first private vehicle to space to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation is creating prizes in five areas: Exploration (Space and Underwater), Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, Education and Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leading model for fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit www.xprize.org.

ABOUT GOOGLE, INC.

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google's targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.google.com.

Google is a trademark of Google Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.

Contacts:

Becky Ramsey (Europe) prcontact@xprize.org

Sarah Evans 310.633.3012 (U.S.) prcontact@xprize.org

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