$20 Million Google Lunar XPRIZE Award to Go Unclaimed

$20 Million Google Lunar XPRIZE Award to Go Unclaimed

The XPRIZE Foundation has announced that no team will make a launch attempt to reach the moon by the March 31 deadline for its Google Lunar XPRIZE competition.

Citing fundraising difficulties as well as technical and regulatory challenges, the competition's $20 million grand prize will go unclaimed. The foundation is exploring ways to proceed, including finding a new title sponsor willing to provide a prize purse and/or operating and promoting the Lunar XPRIZE as a non-cash competition.

In 2017, XPRIZE announced the five teams with verified launch contracts that were eligible to move on in the competition: SpaceIL (Israel), Moon Express (USA), Synergy Moon (International), TeamIndus (India), and HAKUTO (Japan).

While falling short of its original goal, the XPRIZE Foundation is pointing to a number of milestones achieved over the past decade. They include the participating teams and their parent companies raising more than $300 million through corporate sponsorships, government contracts and venture capital; the creation of hundreds of jobs; and the establishment of the first commercial space companies in India, Malaysia, Israel, and Hungary. Over the course of the competition, the foundation has awarded $6 million in prize money in recognition of milestones achieved.

"We are extraordinarily grateful to Google for enabling this ten-year journey with us and for having the foresight and courage to support and catalyze the commercial space industry, which was the ultimate goal of this competition," said XPRIZE founder and executive chairman Peter H. Diamandis. "As a result of this competition, we have sparked the conversation and changed expectations with regard to who can land on the moon. Many now believe it's no longer the sole purview of a few government agencies but may be achieved by small teams of entrepreneurs, engineers, and innovators from around the world."

"An Important Update From Google Lunar XPRIZE." XPRIZE Foundation Press Release 01/23/2018.