X Prize Foundation Suggests “Moonshot Award” For SpaceIL

A year subsequent to a $20 Million prize reward overdue, a group in the ex-Google Lunar X Prize competition can still give a ride to a smaller support prize if it goes on the moon in the next month. The X Prize Foundation declared on March 28 that it would give a $1 Million “Moonshot Award” to a contestant “representing the achievement of a ‘moonshot’ scientific feat outside the timeframe or parameters of an X Prize competition.” Reportedly, that prize would go to SpaceIL—the Israeli organization stated—if its own Beresheet spaceship is capable of successfully landing on the lunar surface in the next month. The spaceship—launched in the elliptical transfer orbit during February as a secondary shipment on a Falcon 9—is on target to enter an orbit near the moon on April 4, with a landing planned for April 11.

Seemingly, SpaceIL was one of the several groups—at one time numbering over two dozen—that contested for the Google Lunar X Prize. The contest offered a $20 Million grand reward to the first confidentially developed spaceship to land on the moon, move minimum 500 Meters transversely its surface and send images and video. In 2007, the X Prize Foundation declared the competition, with innovative plans calling for the outstanding prize to curb to $15 Million if no team bags it by 2012 and then overdue by 2014. Subsequently, the foundation extended the last date many times, but declared it in January 2018 that the contest will end in March 2018 following the prize sponsor—Google—refused to extend it further.

On a similar note, recently, the Israeli lunar lander bounced back from an issue and fired engine. Apparently, Israel’s first lunar lander seems to be back on track. The 1.5 Meters (5-Foot-tall) spaceship—called Beresheet—missed an intended engine firing following its onboard computer reset unpredictably. But the mission group managed to resolve the issue and the lunar lander conducted the maneuver.

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