From: Team Stellar
Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2008
RALEIGH, NC, May 21 -- Team STELLAR (Space Technology for Exploration, Lunar Landing, and Roving), a project of the North Carolina non-profit Advanced Aerospace Resource Center corporation, has announced its intent to compete for the Google Lunar X PRIZE.
The prize is a $30 million international competition to safely land a robot on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send images and data back to the Earth. Teams must be at least 90% privately funded and must be registered to compete by December 31, 2010. The first team to land on the Moon and complete the mission objectives will be awarded $20 million; the full first prize is available until December 31, 2012. After that date, the first prize will drop to $15 million. The second team to do so will be awarded $5 million. Another $5 million will award in bonus prizes. The final deadline for winning the prize is December 31, 2014.
Team STELLAR includes robotics and space technology experts from regional universities and businesses, and the mission plan calls for sub-teams to handle lunar vehicle design, communications and control, orbital mechanics, and mission control. North Carolina State University team members include professors with experience in satellite technology and space navigation. "We have all the elements for success," said Team STELLAR CTO Grayson Randall. "We plan to engage university researchers and private industry in the right combination to make this program fly. And it's an exciting project for students because it will give them unique opportunities to apply their research to real-world... and out-of-this-world... products."
Among the first industry sponsors are Insight Technologies (a local enterprise that has competed in the two DARPA Challenge races for autonomous vehicles), the Advanced Vehicle Research Center, and ASTREC (Advanced Space Technology Research and Engineering Center). Financial support has been received from the North Carolina State University Engineering Foundation in conjunction with the North Carolina State University.
"The first private landing on the Moon is the next step in building the new space economy and developing a wide range of new technology jobs and commercial opportunities," said Team STELLAR Executive Director Dick Dell. "We're excited to be a part of this historic competition."
Updates will be posted at www.teamstellar.org.
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