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Barcelona Moon Team Signs Contract with Chinese Launcher to Send Rover to the Moon in June 2014
08 August 2012
The Barcelona-based company, Galactic Suite, leading the industrial conglomerate, Barcelona Moon Team, announced it has signed a launch service contract for a Chinese rocket that will carry the Spanish robot to the Moon in June 2014 to attempt to win the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE.
The Google Lunar X PRIZE, the largest incentivized competition offered to date, challenges space professionals and engineers from across the globe to build and launch to the moon a privately funded spacecraft capable of completing a series of exploration and transmission tasks. The Google Lunar X PRIZE is one of four active competitions from X PRIZE Foundation, the leading nonprofit organization for creating and managing large-scale, global incentivized competitions.
Mr. Yin Liming, president of China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) and Mr. Xavier Claramunt, Galactic Suite president and Barcelona Moon Team leader, met in Paris to formalize the agreement through which the Chinese company will provide launch services to the Spanish team.
"Through this launch service contract, Barcelona Moon Team consolidates itself at the head of the teams participating in the competition," says Claramunt, "since securing the launcher is half the importance of the mission."
The contract signed today states that CGWIC provide the services of a Long March 2C launcher with an upper stage CTS2 for insertion into the lunar transfer orbit. The launcher will carry the Spanish lander module that, once released, will make the correction and deceleration operations for insertion into lunar orbit before landing on the lunar surface.
"Considering that the investment required to achieve the mission is provided by private companies through sponsorship, the award will also be divided between the sponsors," says Claramunt.
For the partners of the space industrial consortium, the success of the mission will mean developing qualification of technology and capabilities in complex missions resulting in a competitive advantage for the future. Furthermore the team has designed its mission to carry up to 25kg of additional payload besides the rover participating in the competition. This extra payload is offered to universities, commercial or pharmaceutical companies, and national agencies, which can see the Spanish mission as a demonstration mission for future operations on the Moon.
The choice of a Chinese launcher has other consequences of great importance to the mission and future capabilities of the Spanish industry. Due to the ban of launching sensitive American technology onboard of Chinese launchers, the Spanish mission has been designed not to use any American components that may interfere with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). This regulation prevents many
American companies bring their technology products to international markets, creating a niche market for other companies developing alternative technologies to avoid the ban on the construction of satellites.
The Barcelona Moon Team's planned flight to the Moon. Credit: BMT/Galactic Suite/ Google Lunar X PRIZE
The Barcelona Moon Team rover. Credit: BMT/Galactic Suite/Google Lunar X PRIZE
Long March 2C Launcher. Credit: CGWIC
Xavier Claramunt, Barcelona Moon Team Leader, and Yin Liming of China Great Wall Industry Corporation