|Google Lunar X-Prize logo|
The Barcelona Moon Team said this summer that it had contracted a launch aboard a Chinese Long March 2C rocket. "Through this launch service contract, Barcelona Moon Team consolidates itself at the head of the teams participating in the competition, since securing the launcher is half the importance of the mission," team leader Xavier Claramunt said in a statement.
|Astrobotic's Polaris lunar rover|
While 25-teams remain in the X-Prize competition, it now appears that only the three referenced are entering the top tier because of booster rocket launch contracts within the timeline. Each of the three teams are building capable lunar landers and rovers to mount atop of the boosters to be directed to the moon's surface 250,000 miles away.
As the three commercial international teams (two American and one European) close on the approaching deadline to lay claim to the Google Lunar X-Prize millions, the governments of China, India, Russia, and Europe are planning a new era of civil lunar landers and sample return missions in the balance of the current decade.
|Barcelona Moon Team artist concept rover|