Thursday, April 05, 2018

X-Prize Insists It's Not Dead Yet. Relaunches Under New Name But Without Cash Prize

         By Henry Stewart

Yogi Berra (who may have said it first) and Lenny Kravitz (who composed a track under the title for this 1991 album "Mama Said") aren't the only ones who believe that "it ain't over until it's over."

As outlined in an April 4th, 2018 YouTube video "Lunar XPRIZE Announcement," which has also been posted on the new Lunar X-Prize website, the original Google Lunar X-Prize competition might now be over, but the concept marches on.

The new video stars Peter Diamandis, the founder and chairman of the X-Prize Foundation, which organized the original competition. According to Diamandis, five of the twenty nine teams who competed for the original X-Prize between 2007 and March 2018 have now "solidified" launch contracts and are expected to land on the Moon over the next two years.

He feels they should be supported.

As for the new competition, it's now called simply the "Lunar X-Prize," and is actively seeking new sponsors, philanthropists or benefactors to replace Mountain View, CA based Google, which supported the original contest throughout its almost eleven year run.

According to Diamantis, "at this point we simply don't want to give on these teams (the five teams considered to still be in the running)."

The April 5th, 2018 X-Prize press release, "XPrize Plans to Continue Lunar XPrize Missions," also included statements of support from Takeshi Hakamada (the founder and CEO of Japanese based ispace, the management company for X-Prize competitor Team Hakuto, Rahul Narayan (the CEO and founder of Bangalore India based X-Prize contender Teamindus) and Bob Richards (the founder & CEO of Cape Canaveral FL based Moon Express, considered the front runner in any revived contest).

As outlined in the April 5th, 2018 The Verge post, "X Prize relaunches its Moon competition, but without a cash prize," the decision to shut down the original Lunar prize was “a collective decision” taken with Google last year.

We appreciate Google’s commitment and respect their decision in having their prize purse end on March 31, 2018 regardless of team progress, and launch scenarios,” X-Prize spokesperson Katherine Schelbert told The Verge.

As outlined in The Verge post, the rules for entering the new Lunar X-Prize aren’t clear yet, but the foundation said it will be announced “over the next few months.”

It ain't over til it's over.

Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer

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