PT Scientists go with Spaceflight for moonshot

Lander and rover
PTScientists’ ALINA lander is designed to carry two Audi Lunar Quattro rovers to the moon’s surface. (PTScientists Photo)

A German team that’s going after the Google Lunar XPRIZE has secured a contract with Seattle-based Spaceflight to get its rover-carrying lander to the moon.

PTScientists, based in Berlin, announced the deal today, and Spaceflight confirmed the partnership. If the contract is verified by the $30 million contest’s organizers at XPRIZE, the group will join three other contestants in the home stretch for the top prize for commercial lunar exploration.

Spaceflight struck a similar deal last year with an Israeli-based GLXP team, SpaceIL. The two other verified teams are Moon Express and Synergy Moon.

There are 16 teams in the GLXP hunt, but they have to have verified launch contracts by the end of this year in order to stay in the competition.

The top prize of $20 million will go to the first team to send a spacecraft to the moon and have it travel more than 500 meters (1,640 feet) while sending back images and video. Other prizes are being offered as extra incentives. If no team gets to the moon by the end of 2017, all those prizes go poof.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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