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History Making Moon Mission Unveiled

History Making Moon Mission Unveiled

San Jose, CA (December 06, 2007) — The first team to complete registration for the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE unveiled its plans today at the Space Investment Summit in San Jose, California. Representatives of Odyssey Moon announced their plans to make history with the first private robotic mission to the surface of the Moon and their intent to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. Odyssey Moon’s inaugural mission will involve a unique small robotic lander designed to deliver scientific, exploration and commercial payloads to the surface of the Moon.

Odyssey Moon, a private commercial lunar enterprise headquartered in the Isle of Man, is the brainchild of Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards, a founder of the International Space University. “We applaud the XPRIZE Foundation and Google for creating the first privately funded race to the Moon,” he said. “For Odyssey Moon, the Google Lunar XPRIZE was the right thing at the right time to compel us to unveil our plans. We have a long term vision and now with the Google Lunar XPRIZE we have a short term goal: Odyssey Moon is setting its eyes on the prize.” Richards said that the company’s goal is to lower the price of getting to the Moon by an order of magnitude and in doing so help catalyze a “MOONRUSH” to Earth’s sister world, which he describes as an eighth continent rich in energy and resources floating just offshore.

“Our business plans have been in development for a series of missions to the Moon during the International Lunar Decade in support of science, exploration and commerce,” said Richards. “We believe in competition and we believe in this prize. Future generations will view the Google Lunar XPRIZE as the turning point of the 21st century, when humanity realized the Moon’s critical role for prosperity and survival in space and on Earth.”

The chairman of Odyssey Moon is Dr. Ramin Khadem a well known figure in the international satellite industry and former Chief Financial Officer of INMARSAT, a highly successful mobile satellite communications company that he helped pioneer and ultimately privatize. “We have put together an incredibly talented international team with substantial technical know how and financial depth who believe in the long term responsible development of the Moon for the benefit of all humanity,” Dr. Khadem said. He explained that Odyssey Moon is open to international collaboration at several levels and welcomes discussion with others who may wish to join them in their quest for the Google Lunar XPRIZE and the pursuit of the company’s long term business plans for the peaceful development of the Moon.

Odyssey Moon announced that its prime contractor is MDA of Canada, an experienced company with substantial space heritage in providing robotics on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station, and more recently for satellite servicing and planetary exploration. Dr. Christian Sallaberger, a Vice President with MDA's Information Systems Group, explained his company's role. "MDA has a long track record of delivering high-value cost-effective solutions to our customers and this has been a key part of our successes in space over the past 40 years," he said. "We understand the commercial space world, and we have the technical heritage and expertise to support Odyssey Moon's plan and make it happen."

The Planetary Society, the world's largest space interest group, has joined the Odyssey Moon team to assist in education and public involvement and with international and science liaison. Society Executive Director, Dr. Louis Friedman said, "The Moon is a stepping stone into the solar system, for governments and for the private sector. Odyssey Moon's leap forward to this stepping stone could presage a new day of commercial ventures beyond Earth.” Founded in 1980 by the late astronomer Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman, the Society encourages government, non-government and private and public participation in the exploration of other worlds.

XPRIZE Chairman and CEO Dr. Peter Diamandis said he congratulates Odyssey Moon for being the first team to complete the registration process and that he is thrilled at the response to the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE. “We applaud all the teams who have been motivated to declare their intentions to compete,” Diamandis said. “We are proud to participate in the announcement of our first fully registered team. We hope the announcement will motivate and inspire even more teams to enter this race; a race that is now truly international."


The $30 million 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 (1/3 of a mile) 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. To date, more than 20 teams from a dozen countries around the world have registered to compete for the prize. The Google Lunar XPRIZE is available to be claimed until the end of the year 2015.


Founded in 1995, the XPRIZE Foundation is the leading nonprofit 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 XPRIZE Foundation conducts competitions in four Prize Groups: Education & Global Development; Energy & Environment; Life Sciences; and Exploration (Ocean and Deep Space). Prizes won include the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE for private, suborbital space flight; the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive XPRIZE for creating safe, affordable, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPG energy equivalent (MPGe); and the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander XCHALLENGE for advanced rocket development. Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $10 million Archon Genomics XPRIZE, and the $1.4 million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE. For more information, visit

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