XPRIZE has confirmed a launch agreement submitted by another finalist in its $30 million competition to land a scientific probe on the Moon by the end of 2017.
Synergy Moon, a scientific collaboration between U.S. and Bosnian space enthusiasts, has pacted to use a Nepute 8 rocket operated by Mojave, Calif.-based Interorbital Systems to transport a lunar lander and rover to the surface of the Moon. The rocket will launch from an open ocean off the California coastline sometime in the second half of 2017.
Synergy Moon is the third Google Lunar XPRIZE entrant with a verified launch plan, along with SpaceIL and Moon Express. Thirteen other XPRIZE teams have until year’s end to have launch agreements confirmed by organizers of the competition.
A $20 million grand prize will be awarded to the first privately funded spacecraft to land a probe on the Moon and send back images. There’s also a $5 million prize for the second team to manage such a feat, and bonus awards for scientific and technical achievement.
“Synergy Moon’s launch agreement is a hallmark achievement that we are very proud to verify,” XPRIZE senior director Chanda Gonzales-Mowrer said. “In the spirit of XPRIZE’s belief that the power of competition can spur outside-the-box innovation, Synergy Moon has blazed their own path and demonstrated that there is more than one way to get to the Moon.”
Synergy Moon’s co-founders, Kevin Myrick of the U.S. and Nebojša Stanojević of Bosnia Herzegovina, have put together a team of space enthusiasts from 15 countries in pressing their bid to win the XPRIZE competition.