Galactic Suite Signs Contract with Chinese Launcher to Send Rover to the Moon
Barcelona, Spain (August 08, 2012) — The Barcelona-based company, Galactic Suite, leading the industrial conglomerate, Barcelona Moon Team, announced it has signed a launch service contract for a Chinese rocket that will carry the Spanish robot to the Moon in 2014 to attempt to win the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE.
The Google Lunar X PRIZE, the largest incentivized competition offered to date, challenges space professionals and engineers from across the globe to build and launch to the moon a privately funded spacecraft capable of completing a series of exploration and transmission tasks. There are currently 25 registered teams for the Google Lunar X PRIZE, which is one of four active competitions from X PRIZE Foundation, the leading nonprofit organization for creating and managing large-scale, global incentivized competitions.
Mr. Yin Liming, president of China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) and Mr. Xavier Claramunt, Galactic Suite president and Barcelona Moon Team leader, met in Paris to formalize the agreement through which the Chinese company will provide launch services to the Spanish team.
"Through this launch service contract, Barcelona Moon Team consolidates itself at the head of the teams participating in the competition," says Claramunt, "since securing the launcher is half the importance of the mission."
The contract signed today 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.
"Considering that the investment required to achieve the mission is provided by private companies through sponsorship, the award will also be divided between the sponsors," said Claramunt.
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.
Furthermore the team has designed its mission to carry up to 25kg of additional payload besides the rover participating in the competition. This extra payload is offered to universities, commercial or pharmaceutical companies, and national agencies, which can see the Spanish mission as a demonstration mission for future operations on the Moon.
The choice of a Chinese launcher has other consequences of great importance to the mission and future capabilities of the Spanish industry. Due to the ban of launching sensitive American technology onboard of Chinese launchers, the Spanish mission has been designed not to use any American components that may interfere with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). This regulation prevents many American companies bring their technology products to international markets, creating a niche market for other companies developing alternative technologies to avoid the ban on the construction of satellites.
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ABOUT BARCELONA MOON TEAM
The only Spanish-based team to enter the competition and gathers together private companies, universities and technology centers. The team is led by Galactic Suite Moonrace, a company fostering the low-cost access to space, and Altran, a multinational technological partner. Other members joining the team are, in chronological order, the Aerospace Technology Center (CTAE), based in Barcelona, and the Technical University of Catalonia, contributing with robotics and nanoengineering; and the Madrid based companies GMV, specialized in mission analysis, navigation and onboard control systems, and all elements of the ground segment, and technical leader of the mission; EADS CASA Espacio, the leading Spanish prime contractor and responsible of the landing platform; THALES ALENIA SPACE España, leading communications company, and the National Aerospace Technology Insitute (INTA), contributing with systems on the rover and landing platform, as well as operational support with the ground stations of Maspalomas and Robledo de Chavela. For more information, go to www.barcelonamoonteam.com
ABOUT CHINA GREAT WALL INDUSTRY CORPORATION
Established in 1980, China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) is the sole commercial organization authorized by the Chinese government to provide satellites, commercial launch services and to carry out international space cooperation. CGWIC is devoted to the internationalized development of China’s space industry by providing comprehensive solutions for commercial launch services, satellite export, satellite ground tracking and control station construction, satellite applications, project financing, project insurance and technical training, etc. For more information, go to http://www.cgwic.com
ABOUT GOOGLE LUNAR XPRIZE
The $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE will be awarded to the first privately funded teams to build robots that successfully land on the lunar surface, explore the Moon by moving at least 500 meters (~1/3 of a mile), and return high definition video and imagery. The competition's grand prize is worth $20 million. To provide an extra incentive for teams to work quickly, the grand prize value will change to $15 million whenever a government-funded mission successfully explores the lunar surface, currently projected to occur in 2013. Additionally, a second place prize of $5 million will be available for the second team to complete the competition objectives. A total of $4 million in bonus prizes are available for achieving other specific mission objectives, including operation at night; traveling more than 5km over the lunar surface; detection of water; and precision landing near an Apollo site or other lunar sites of interest (such as landing/crash sites of man-made space hardware). Lastly, a $1 million award will go to the team that demonstrates the greatest attempts to promote diversity in the field of space exploration. For more information, go to http://www.googlelunarxprize.org.
Founded in 1995, XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the leading organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself. The organization motivates and inspires brilliant innovators from all disciplines to leverage their intellectual and financial capital for the benefit of humanity. XPRIZE conducts competitions in five Prize Groups: Learning; Exploration; Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences. Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, and the $2.25 million Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE. For more information, go to www.xprize.org, “like” us at www.facebook.com/xprize and follow us on twitter @xprize.