Moon Race Roundup: Milestones and Mastery

Moon Race Roundup: Milestones and Mastery

Key tests are completed as the Google Lunar XPRIZE teams march toward the Milestones.

This week, on the road to the Moon...

Important tech progress, as Google Lunar XPRIZE team Astrobotic  completed a key test of Moon landing technology!

"In this technology demonstration, a computer vision system scanned the landscape, selected a landing spot, and directed a rocket-powered lander to a safe touchdown point, all without a human operator." - Astrobotic press release

The test is an important step in establishing their technology for the piloting of their craft to surface of the Moon (no easy task! Landing is the hardest part, and while NASA did it back in the '60s, we need to make it more cost effective if we want to move farther in space, including to Mars).

Check out this epic video of the flight from NASA:

“Today was a great demonstration of how a rocket powered lander can select a safe landing site without human intervention. There are so many innovations on display in this flight campaign from both teams that it really drives home the reality that barriers to space access are falling.” - Masten Space Systems CEO Sean Mahoney

Masten Space Systems, of course, were the winners of the 2009 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander XCHALLENGE, a $2 million prize we (XPRIZE) offered. Great to see private space taking off...across several trajectories!

Astrobotic and Masten.

Be sure to stay tuned for more video and coverage of all the big tests teams will be doing this year for the $6 million 2014 Terrestrial Milestone Prizes. Rockets and robots, go!

Meanwhile, Moon Express  (also a competitor for the optional-but-valuable challenge of the Terrestrial Milestone Prizes) was busy with tests---and techno?---of their own, putting their big thruster test here to a funky beat:

/approve    /has the beat stuck in his head now

While SpaceIL  rallied folks to a better future with their cool new promo:

Penn State Lunar Lion  checked in with their latest hip Moon vlog featuring cute dogs, hot fires, and MakerBot 3D printing:

While Hakuto 's TETRIS Moon rover sharpened up its Tetris game:

And Puli  was on the scene as robots mixed & mingled in Budapest, during the 2014 Google Lunar XPRIZE Team Summit that they so masterfully hosted:

Keep an eye here to mix & mingle yourself with the latest rockets, robots, and space progress, as the Google Lunar XPRIZE teams master challenges---on and off of Earth!


I'll be rounding these up every week---as the teams march forward towards history----so keep an eye here for the latest developments from your moon race!

For the full skinny on *everything* that happens, follow the official feeds for team blogs, team social, and team videos. You can also sign up for the XPRIZE newsletter to get cool PRIZE news in your inbox!

~Nick Azer, resident history nerd/blogger dude/Moon advocate extraordinaire

[June 20-26th, 2014.]

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