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 X PRIZE
The $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE 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 X PRIZE, 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. The first team to do so will claim a $20 million Grand Prize, while the second team will earn a $5 million Prize. Teams are also eligible to win a $1 million award for stimulating diversity in the field of space exploration and as much as $4 million in bonus prizes for accomplishing additional technical tasks such as moving ten times as far, surviving the frigid lunar night, or visiting the site of a previous lunar mission. For more information, go to www.googlelunarxprize.org
ABOUT THE X PRIZE FOUNDATION
Founded in 1995, the X PRIZE Foundation, 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. The X PRIZE Foundation conducts competitions in five Prize Groups: Education; Exploration; Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences. Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, the $10 million Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Express Scripts, the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE, and the $2.25 million Nokia Sensing X CHALLENGE. For more information, go to www.xprize.org.