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Friday, August 10, 2012

Spanish Barcelona Moon Teams Cuts Deal for Chinese Long March 2C Rocket in 2014

A Spanish group has taken a significant step in its effort to win the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE after signing a contract with a Chinese company to launch its lunar robot to the moon in [June] 2014. The deal puts the Barcelona Moon Team toward the top of the Lunar X PRIZE competitors, according to team leader Xavier Claramunt, journalist Jason Paur writes for Autopia.

Claramunt’s team will use the Long March 2C launcher with an upper stage CTS2 rocket to make the final push to orbit around the moon. The launch system is provided by the China Great Wall Industry Corporation, a state owned company that has long been involved with China’s space program. The Long March 2C launcher first flew in 1975 with 35 successful flights and only one failure.

The Barcelona Moon Team, one of 25 teams still competing for the Google Lunar X PRIZE, has designed their mission to carry an additional 25 kilograms of weight other than the lunar rover. This extra payload is offered to other institutions such as universities and national agencies.

American teams Moon Express Inc. and Astrobotic Technology plan to launch their own respective lunar rovers in 2014-2015 in the international competition. The Google Lunar X PRIZE offers a total of US$30 million in prizes to the first privately funded teams to land a robot on the Moon that successfully travels more than 500 meters (1,640 ft) and transmits back high definition images and video. The first team to do so will claim the US$20 million Grand Prize; while the second team to accomplish the same tasks will earn a US$5 million Second Place Prize.

The Barcelona Moon Team has to design their mission so that no sensitive American components will be launched by the Chinese launcher, in agreement with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). This regulation stops some American companies participating in international markets, which creates opportunities for other companies to develop alternative technologies, notes Amanda Doyle at SEN.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much this launch will cost and how the Barcelona team intend to pay for it?