Moon Roundup: Lander and Launches

Moon Roundup: Lander and Launches

Moon Express's new spacecraft went viral, while several launch developments came along...

This week, in the Google Lunar XPRIZE…

The Moon Express team made a splash with their new lander.

A team's new lander design went viral, while several teams had notable launch developments...

The iPhone of Space

At Autodesk University in Las Vegas, Moon Express   unveiled their new spacecraft: the MX-1!

The announcement---which set the media world on fire---revealed their versatile new craft, which will be able to tackle anything from the Moon and satellite operations to space junk cleanup:

The modular workhorse---that they describe as the 'iPhone of space' for its versatility---represents an interesting new type of design not seen so far in the competition.

You can catch a video of the announcement at the Autodesk University 2013 website, with the segment beginning at around 00:16:00.

Just Getting Started

And Moon Express  was just getting started----they mentioned in a tweet that they expect to make a launch announcement in early 2014!:

The Moon is heating up...!

Discovery Horizons

And speaking of early 2014, team Synergy Moon 's parent company, Interorbital Systems, was featured in a lively D News video:

The rocket company plans to use their technology to launch a bunch of independently developed/crowdsourced "TubeSATs" and other CubeSATS---including a miniature TARDIS---within the first quarter or so of 2014!

A team's parent company will have a part in launching, yes, a TARDIS (from Doctor Who).

The NEPTUNE rocket technology could be what eventually takes Synergy Moon  to, well, the Moon! And successful launches like this one in early 2014 should go a long ways towards furthering that goal.


And for even more launch news, former team Phoenicia---who are managing the launch of team Penn State Lunar Lion  in 2015---have signed on additional clients and services for the mission!

The Phoenicia logo.

Aloha, Mission

In other important progress, team Puli  has reached Hawaii and begun their rover test program there:


And Team Italia  officially announced for the Mobility milestone prize!

Expect details from many of the other teams soon on which of the new Milestone Prizes they will be attempting for!

Down Under

Two different teams also offered Australian updates, as Stellar  introduced team member Tim Blaxland, head of their Navigation Division, and his work:

While Israeli team SpaceIL was visited by Australian politician Daniel Andrews:


While, last but not least, Stellar  is also offering monetary prizes for experiments on their upcoming balloon launch mission!


I'll be rounding up these news items 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!

~Nick Azer

[December 4th-December 10th, 2013.]

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