FIVE TEAMS MOVE FORWARD TO FINAL PHASE OF GOOGLE LUNAR XPRIZE, JAPANESE TEAM HAKUTO ENTERS THE FINAL PHASE OF THE RACE

posted: 2017.1.25

HAKUTO XPRIZE_GOOGLE_RM

PRESS RELEASE

January 25, 2017

FIVE TEAMS MOVE FORWARD TO FINAL PHASE OF GOOGLE LUNAR XPRIZE, JAPANESE TEAM HAKUTO ENTERS THE FINAL PHASE OF THE RACE

Tokyo, Japan – January 25, 2017 – On January 24th, XPRIZE and Google announced that $1 million Diversity Prize will be split among 16 Google Lunar XPRIZE teams, and that five teams have verified launch contracts and are moving forward to the final phase of the competition to land an unmanned spacecraft on the surface of the Moon.

“XPRIZE and Google have been awestruck by the educational outreach activities conducted by all of the competing teams and have decided to split the $1 million Diversity Prize across all 16 teams to recognize each of their unique approaches and initiatives over the years,” said Chanda Gonzales-Mowrer, senior director, Google Lunar XPRIZE. “Each of these teams has pushed the boundaries to demonstrate that you don’t have to be a government superpower to send a mission to the Moon, while inspiring audiences to pursue the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

All teams had until December 31, 2016 to have a verified launch contract in place. XPRIZE has verified the launch contracts of the following five teams, who are moving forward to the final phase of the competition:

・SpaceIL (Israel), a non-profit organization, has secured a position on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Their goal is to make an educational impact and to create an “Apollo Effect” for the next generation in Israel.

・Moon Express (USA), signed a multi-mission launch contract with Rocket Lab USA for three lunar missions by 2020. Their directive is to open up the Moon’s vast resources for humanity and establish new avenues for commercial space activities beyond Earth orbit.

・Synergy Moon (International), team member Interorbital Systems will serve as the launch provider, using a NEPTUNE 8 rocket to carry a lunar lander and rover to the surface of the Moon. Synergy Moon is made of up individuals from over 15 countries, with a mission to make manned orbital travel, personal satellite launches and Solar System exploration cost effective and accessible.

・Team Indus (India), signed a commercial launch contract aboard the Indian Space Research Organization’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Team Indus’ spacecraft is designed to nestle inside the nosecone of the PSLV and will launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

・HAKUTO (Japan), run by the Japanese startup ispace technologies Inc., is the only Japanese team competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The team is comprised of various members including: the members of ispace, Tohoku University, and Pro-Bono experts from various fields. HAKUTO signed a rideshare agreement to have Team Indus carry its four-wheeled rover to the Moon.

“Since we started from a grassroots movement 7 years ago as a Japanese team, we have been continuously aiming for the Moon with incredible support from a number of companies and individuals”, said Takeshi Hakamada, the team leader of HAKUTO. “Initially, a total of 34 teams had participated in the race; but the number had gone down to 16 by the Milestone Prize Award in 2015, and now only 5 teams remain in the competition. This year, HAKUTO is entering the final phase of the race. Due to our last-minute change of the lander provider to TeamIndus, our rover development has to be accelerated and we now require further funding for the launch. To cover that extra cost, we will soon announce a crowd funding campaign. With just a little less than a year left, we will continue to do our best to win the XPRIZE. We very much appreciate your continued support.”

In recognition of the diverse mission plans of each finalist team, XPRIZE made an update to the guidelines to require that the launch is initiated by the December 31, 2017 deadline, instead of completed.

【About HAKUTO】http://team-hakuto.jp/en/

Team HAKUTO, run by the Japanese startup ispace, Inc., is the only Japanese team competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The team is comprised of various members including: the members of ispace, Tohoku University, and Pro-Bono experts from various fields. HAKUTO signed a rideshare agreement to have Team Indus carry its four-wheeled rover to the Moon.

【About the Google Lunar XPRIZE】 http://lunar.xprize.org/

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.

【Contact Information】

Shuhei Akimoto
TEL:+81 3-5565-8483
e-mail:media@team-hakuto.jp

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