All the teams reportedly faced fundraising, technical and regulatory challenges.

Google Lunar XPRIZE moon mission ends in damp squib No launch attempt no winner
Atom Space Technology Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - 10:21

It’s not just TeamIndus, no one is going to launch a mission to the moon as part of the Google Lunar XPRIZE.

Google Lunar XPRIZE has announced that no team will make a launch attempt to reach the moon by March 31, 2018 due to fundraising issues faced by all teams.

“This literal “moonshot” is hard, and while we did expect a winner by now, due to the difficulties of fundraising, technical and regulatory challenges, the grand prize of the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE will go unclaimed,” the XPRIZE team said in a statement on Tuesday.

After nearly a decade of work gone into prepping to go to the moon, with less than two months left to the deadline, no team is close to being ready to launch.

The original deadline for GLXP was 2014, which was extended several times, finally closing in on March 31, 2018. It also started with over 30 teams registering for the competition. But eventually, only five teams made it to the finals.

It was reported earlier this month that India’s only entry to the mission TeamIndus’ contract for a chartered launch on ISRO’s rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), was called off, making it nearly impossible for it to secure another contract on any other rocket and launch before the deadline.

And the reason behind this was attributed to lack of funds, procuring hardware and certain management issues.

The team from Israel ‘SpaceII’ was also on the verge of dropping out of the challenge after it failed to raise sufficient funds.

TeamIndus dropping out became a challenge for the Hakuto, the team from Japan who partnered with TeamIndus to transport Hakuto’s rover as well as its own to the moon using its own spacecraft.

XPRIZE says that it is exploring a number of ways to proceed from here. “This may include finding a new title sponsor to provide a prize purse following in the footsteps of Google’s generosity, or continuing the Lunar XPRIZE as a non-cash competition where we will follow and promote the teams and help celebrate their achievements,” it said.

While the competition failed, XPRIZE says that one big achievement was changing the belief that it’s no longer the sole purview of a few government agencies, but now may be achieved by small teams of entrepreneurs, engineers, and innovators from around the world.

There were also several accomplishment through the course of the competition such as the $300 million raised by the teams and the companies that own them through corporate sponsorships, government contracts and venture capital, including the largest space-related series A investment of $90 million.

More than $6 million was awarded in prize money to teams over the course of the competition in recognition of the milestones they accomplished. XPRIZE also claims that the competition also sparked the creation of hundreds of jobs.

This isn’t the end of ‘audacious’ competitions for XPRIZE. It says that it will continue to launch competitions that are literal or figurative moonshots, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible

“In conclusion, it’s incredibly difficult to land on the Moon. If every XPRIZE competition we launch has a winner, we are not being audacious enough...We are inspired by the progress of the Google Lunar XPRIZE teams, and will continue to support their journey, one way or another, and will be there to help shine the spotlight on them when they achieve that momentous goal.”

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