Space Commerce

Dramatic Changes to Google Lunar X Prize Cash Prizes Under Consideration

By Keith Cowing
July 24, 2013
Filed under ,
Dramatic Changes to Google Lunar X Prize Cash Prizes Under Consideration
The Moon

The plans laid out in this draft document embody a radical departure from the current approach to awarding prizes i.e. one winner, one big prize with several smaller runner-up prizes. Now, multiple teams will be able to get even smaller cash prizes for efforts already completed or near completion – but far short of actually sending a mission to land on the Moon.
If approved, this approach would help inject some much needed cash into the coffers of several competitors. No word yet on whether this plan will be formally adopted or when it will be adopted but a quick turn around time for comments suggests that there is an interest in getting these new rules in place soon.

Editor’s note: This document has been widely circulated among several hundred people inside and outside of the Google Lunar X Prize community for several weeks. No markings were placed on this document to note that it is either confidential or proprietary. Indeed, the cover memo encouraged its wider distribution for review and comment.

Google Lunar X Prize Milestone Prizes Guidelines Draft v0.3 July 10, 2013 Download full document

1 Overview

1.1 Scope

This guidelines document describes a number of milestone prizes that have been established within the framework of the Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP). It will form the basis for a requirements document for the Milestone Prizes upon review and decision by the GLXP Judging Panel.

1.2 Objectives

The objectives of the Milestone Prizes are the following:

– Helping teams get past difficult technical milestones on their way to winning the GLXP Grand and Second Place prizes

– Strengthening teams’ business plans by bringing forward some of the prize money for teams that retire key risks

– Provide major public relations opportunities to strengthen awareness of the team and Prize as a whole

The Milestone Prizes have been defined to reward teams for verifiable technical steps, most of which they would anyway need to accomplish whilst preparing or executing their GLXP missions, thus requiring minimal additional work on the part of the teams.

The subsystem designs developed and verified for the Terrestrial Milestone Prizes (see below) are also expected to be useful for future space missions after the GLXP.

1.3 Types of Milestone Prizes

The following Milestone Prizes are available:

– Camera Milestone Prize – $750,000 per team for up to 4 teams

– Mobility Milestone Prize – $750,000 per team for up to 4 teams

– Launch Milestone Prize – $7,000,000 purse split (using a % of launch cost formula with a cap) between teams making the earliest successful launches

– Lunar Arrival Milestone Prize – $1,000,000 for first team to reach a specified distance from the moon

The first two prizes are for technical verification of the respective subsystems (camera or mobility) needed to complete the GLXP mission requirements. These two types of Milestone Prizes will be available prior to launch of the team’s GLXP mission and shall be collectively referred to as the “Terrestrial Milestone Prizes”. There is no obligation to award a specific number of Terrestrial Milestone Prizes in either category (camera or mobility).

The latter two prizes shall be collectively referred to as the “In-Space Milestone Prizes”. The Camera Milestone Prize also includes a complete simulation of the GLXP Mooncasts (both “Arrival” and “Mission Complete”) in addition to the technical verification of the camera system’s design.

1.4 Milestone Prizes Schedule and Validity

The Terrestrial Milestone Prizes will consist of two rounds as follows:

– Terrestrial Milestone Definition Round: August 1st – December 31st, 2013

– Terrestrial Milestone Accomplishment Round: January 1st – June 30th, 2014

Extension of the Milestone Definition Round or Milestone Accomplishment Round is at the discretion of the Judging Panel. The In-Space Milestone Prizes will be available during any GLXP mission that is on track for completion by the end of December 2015 (or “Termination Date”).

1.5 Who Can Participate?

The Milestone Prizes are open to all registered and eligible GLXP teams. Refer to MTA Section 3.2 for more information about eligibility.

Each registered and eligible GLXP team can compete in one or both of the Terrestrial Milestone Prizes – Camera and Mobility.

All teams become automatically eligible for the In-Space Milestone Prizes upon XPRIZE’s acceptance of the corresponding team’s Notification of Launch Attempt.

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