Moon Roundup: Booster Stage

Moon Roundup: Booster Stage

Serious upgrades to the competition rules are announced, as the teams test rockets & robots.

This week, in the Google Lunar XPRIZE…

New rules mean the teams will have a big opportunity at an early boost. [Image: Apollo 11.]

The competition's been upgraded with some big updates to the rules, while the teams kept busy completing important tests!:


The Google Lunar XPRIZE has added the new, terrestrial "Milestone Prizes"! These $6 million in potential prizes will allow the teams to win some of the grand total prize purse before they reach the Moon---allowing them to be rewarded for their innovation prior to the end of the completed competition.

Our video featuring many of the technologies which could be scoring big prizes within the next year.

The prizes are:

  • $250,000 for the Imaging Subsystem Milestone Prize (for up to 4 teams);
  • $500,000 for the Mobility Subsystem Milestone Prize (for up to 4 teams); and
  • $1 million for the Lander System Milestone Prize (for up to 3 teams)

The $6 million in prizes have to be claimed before September 2014---so the race is on for teams to claim an edge in 2014!

Read all the details in the official announcement.

China Boon

And in another upgrade for the rules, the old government-landing penalty has been eliminated---so when China lands on the Moon in December, its achievement will not be reducing the prize by $5 million (as would have happened under the original rules).

The rover of the Chang'e-3 Moon mission testing out its awesome robotic arm.

Read more in GLXP gal Alexandra Hall's blog post!


With these milestone prizes within grasp, it's an even bigger deal for teams to be working on their real hardware---and they're busy on it!

Astrobotic , for instance, is hard at work testing their rovers for low-gravity---on Earth:

Including crushing a banana (yes, a banana) as part of the tests. Watch below to see why this banana met its fate:

Rocket Firing

While fellow Pennsylvanians Penn State Lunar Lion  completed their first series of rocket tests!

"The successful rocket tests are the first step (or “Phase 0″) toward more complex rocket testing, according to Michael Policelli [pictured above], propulsion lead for the Lunar Lion and a master’s student in Aerospace Engineering." -Onward State article

Last week's video of the rocket test.

Rocket Development

And team Synergy Moon 's parent, Interorbital, have been busy on their own rocket progress. In their case, they're building entire rockets---which they plan to begin launching next year. Here's the video (complete with some seriously 1980's/8-bit-video-game music):

Space Mission

Meanwhile, team Plan B  began discussing their plans for an entire, in-space test mission: (Post 1, post 2).

"Before attempting to perform the main mission flight, the decision was made to use [a] nano satellite type mission flight."

One of Plan B's many hands-on technology videos.

They're one of several teams talking about doing a test run in space, so it should be fun to follow their important adventures in space on the way to the Moon!

The Unit

Team Italia  shared a video of the electronic unit work they have been doing:

The People

And, last but not least, Synergy Moon  posted a nice day-in-the-life piece, sharing the experience of what its like to be out there meeting the people and presenting their mission (getting some jaws to drop in the process).

Miroslav Ambrus-Kis out there meeting the people.

Honorable Mentions:


I'll be rounding these news items up every week, so keep an eye here for the latest developments from the moon race!

And 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!

[November 6th-November 12th, 2013.]

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