Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Behind the Scenes at the Google Lunar X PRIZE Teams Announcement

William Pomerantz goes behind the scenes at the Google Lunar X PRIZE annoucement of 9 more officially registered teams and a new bonus prize from Space Florida. There was a lot of networking, good food like "Dark Side of the Moon Cake", and presentation work that went into the annoucement.

I should also mention that the teams are actively posting to the Google Lunar X PRIZE Teams page. When there was just one officially registered team, I could keep up, but with 10 teams each posting every week or so, I probably won't be able to keep up posting about them, even if I read them. I recommend that anyone interested in the competition check the page periodically. Here's a sample of recent posts:

- Deborah Castleman on why team leader Harold Rosen formed SCSG (Southern California Selene Group) decades after observing fellow engineers working on the Surveyor lunar landers

- Red Whittaker introduces his ~40 person team Astrobotic and mentions the rover and lunar lander prototypes they've already worked on

- Lunar Lander Challenge veteran Richard Speck, leader of Micro-Space, discusses entrepreneurial space, rocket regulations, high-powered rocket societies, and the history and business model of Micro-Space

- Pete Bitar of LunaTrex, which includes contributions from such companies as Orion Propulsion, High Altitude Research Corporation, and several others, discusses their plan to make each subsystem a business profit center on its own and make space access and lunar transportation sustainable businesses. In another post, he mentions, among other plans, that they plan to start their own lunar rover competition that sounds designed for students.

- Quantum3 offers a press release blog entry that describes some of the well-known team members like Courtney Stadd, Paul Carliner, and Liam Sarsfield, as well as their spacecraft Moondancer.

- Finally, Michael Potter of Odyssey Moon, the team that's been posting all along, compliments Google and welcomes the other teams. Michael also mentions his film Orphans of Apollo.