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Google Lunar X Prize to Verify Moon Express Launch Contract

By Marc Boucher
NASA Watch
October 2, 2015
Filed under ,
Google Lunar X Prize to Verify Moon Express Launch Contract

Moon Express Launch Contract to be Verified by Google Lunar XPRIZE, SpaceRef Business
“Yesterday Moon Express became the first Google Lunar X PRIZE participant to sign a launch contract with a launch service provider, albeit one who has yet to launch a rocket.”
“The contract with Rocket Lab, a New Zealand startup based in Los Angeles but with a launch site in New Zealand, still needs to be verified by the Google Lunar X PRIZE authorities.”

Marc’s note: For the competition to be extended beyond this year the Google Lunar X PRIZE needs to verify the launch contract signed between Moon Express and Rocket Lab. If Moon Express had signed a contract with SpaceX, I think this would be a formality. However Rocket Lab has yet to launch their Electron rocket. Does that play into the decision process? Or is it just a matter of verifying the legality of the contract? I’m waiting for a response from the Google Lunar X Prize on this question.
Marc’s update: Here’s what Chanda Gonzales, Senior Director, Google Lunar XPRIZE said on the contract issue “Our decision is based on a holistic assessment of whether the launch contract is genuine, whether there are any legal issues that might pop up, whether there are any obvious non-compliances with the rules, and whether a substantial commitment was made by both the team and the launch provider (e.g. non-refundable deposit of some certain minimum value).”

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5 responses to “Google Lunar X Prize to Verify Moon Express Launch Contract”

  1. Saturn1300 says:
    0…. NASA has awarded Rocket Labs a contract to launch cubesats. Also Firefly and Virgin. Millions of $. None have launched anything. NASA may be going to pay for milestones. So pay these people a down payment. These are all complex LFR. NASA ought to give a contract to a SRB just in case these fail or have failures like SpaceX and Orbital. Small payloads, but it still cost millions. No one using SRB may have entered the competition however. NASA could nearly use one of their sounding rockets for this. They go up to 700 miles. The last one went a ways out into the Atlantic.
    Looks like they could not send it so straight up and only go 200 miles up into orbit. NASA is doing what they can to help Rocket Labs and Firefly. NASA should worry about the least risk to launch cube sats. Students have lost enough. SRB are well known. NASA is putting too much into developing new companies. NASA does not seem to like simple and cheap though. Firefly is really wild. NASA has a new pad for small rockets at KSC.