XPRIZE Foundation and NASA offer $2.5 million Lunar Lander Challenge Competition to take place at '06 XPRIZE Cup in Las Cruces
Santa Monica, CA - May 04, 2007 - NASA’s Deputy Administrator Shana Dale announced during a speech at the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference today that the first multimillion dollar NASA Centennial Challenge will be managed by the XPRIZE Foundation. XPRIZE Chairman Dr. Peter H. Diamandis presented the final rules and prize purse and officially opened the competition for team registration.
NASA and the XPRIZE Foundation have signed a Space Act Agreement to formalize their collaboration on the Lunar Lander Challenge. The Space Act Agreement states that the XPRIZE Foundation, which provided the catalyst for the recent breakthroughs in private spaceflight companies with the Ansari XPRIZE, will administer and execute the competitions at no cost to NASA, with NASA providing prize funding to the winning contestants.
The $2.5M Lunar Lander Challenge will require a vehicle to simulate a trip between the Moon’s surface, to lunar orbit and back to the lunar surface.
“NASA’s exploration vision calls for putting humans back on the moon in the next decade. The vehicles to land on the moon no longer exist.” Said Diamandis. “We believe that entrepreneurial companies can build these lunar spaceships, and a Lunar Lander Challenge can stimulate the required technology in an efficient and rapid fashion. We look forward to our partnership with NASA and to awarding these multimillion dollar purses at the XPRIZE Cup this October in Las Cruces New Mexico.”
The competition is divided into two levels. Level 1 requires a vehicle to take off from a designated launch area, rocket up to 150 feet (50 meters) altitude, then hover for 90 seconds while landing precisely on a landing pad 100 meters away.
The more difficult course, level 2, requires a vehicle to take off from a designated launch area, rocket up to 150 feet (50 meters) altitude, then hover for 180 seconds before landing precisely on a simulated, rocky, lunar surface 100 meters away. For both level 1 and level 2, the vehicle has the option to refuel before conducting the required return level to the original starting point.
The $2.5 million is the total prize purse for the competition. Level 1 will offer $350,000 for first place and $150,000 for second place. Because of its increased difficulty, Level 2 will offer $1.25 million to the winner, $500,000 for second place and $250,000 for third place. If any prize is not won at the 2006 XPRIZE CUP, the leftover purse will can be won the following year.
The Lunar Lander Challenge will take place at the XPRIZE Cup in Las Cruces, New Mexico on October 18-21, 2006. As the world’s first space show, the XPRIZE Cup is the only annual event where the entire family can visit to see the next generation of spaceships up close and in the sky.
NASA's Centennial Challenges promotes technical innovation through a novel program of prize competitions. It is designed to tap the nation's ingenuity to make revolutionary advances to support the Vision for Space Exploration and NASA goals. NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate manages the program.
In 2004, the Ansari XPRIZE proved that offering a prize is an effective, efficient and economical model for acceleration breakthroughs in science and technology. Based on that success, the XPRIZE Foundation is now expanding their efforts to offer more prizes in the space industry, as well as, in the areas of health, energy, transportation, and education.
For more information about Centennial Challenges onthe Internet, visit: http://centennialchallenges.nasa.gov
For more information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/home.
ABOUT THE XPRIZE FOUNDATION
The XPRIZE foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. On October 4, 2004, the XPRIZE foundation captured world headlines when Mojave Aerospace Ventures, led by legendary aircraft designer Burt Rutan and Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world's first private vehicle in space twice in two weeks to win the $10 million Ansari XPrize. The Foundation has since expanded its mission beyond space exploration to offer new prizes for breakthroughs in the areas of life improvement, equity of opportunity and sustainability. In October of 2006, the XPRIZE Foundation announced the $10 million Archon XPRIZE for Genomics, which will reward the first private effort to map 100 human genomes in 10 days, ushering in a new era of personalized preventative medicine. For more information please visit www.xprize.org.