Google Lunar X-Prize: First Team Sets Date For Launch


The world’s first flight to the moon by a privately funded team has been announced as the Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association submits a due date for their launch in the hope of grabbing $30 million in prize money.

Google put up the money just under a year ago and within three months from now we will see the first attempt.

In order to qualify for the prize money the team must be privately funded, land a robot on the moon which must travel 500 meters and transmit 1GB of images and video back to Earth. The deadline is 31st December 2012 for the full prize and the same date in 2014 will fetch half that at $15 million.

ARCA (should really be ACRA) will make their launch from sea using a balloon to lift their European Lunar Lander (ELL) to an altitude of 18km. Its Stabilo booster rocket will then propel the lander into space and to the moon. The spent rocket will detach and land in the ocean.

If ARCA’s mission succeeds, there are still plenty of prizes for other competitors such as $5 million for second place. $5 million will also go to the team whose lander is operational on the moon the longest and another $5 million will be awarded to the team who discovers traces of earlier USSR or Apollo missions or finds signs of frozen water on the moon.

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