$30 Million Google Lunar XPRIZE Team Canada
Team Canada Google Lunar XPRIZE Top Finalists
I was a marketing advisor of the only Canadian team and competition finalists in the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a $30 million competition for privately funded teams to put a robotic rover on the moon, travel 500 meters and send back high definition video. My involvement has captivated my imagination to what is perceived as possible. I strongly believe an individual or small team has exceptional power to do something remarkable.
What is the XPRIZE and how it started.
“The Day before something is truly a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.” XPRIZE founder Peter Diamandis
Founded by Peter Diamandis and led by current CEO Anousheh Ansari, the XPRIZE is an organization that uses large scale international incentivized competitions to kickstart solutions to the world’s grand challenges. The XPRIZE began with the notable Ansari XPRIZE and now has transformed into a multitude of challenges across many genres and industries.
The first prize that kicked off everything was the Ansari XPRIZE. “In 2004, XPRIZE awarded the largest prize in history, the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE to “Mojave Aerospace Ventures” for their SpaceShipOne. Entered by Burt Rutan and his company Scaled Composites, with financial backing from Paul Allen(co-founder of Microsoft). Later the technology was sold to billionaire Richard Branson which has evolved to the present day Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company.
The Google Lunar XPRIZE
The Google Lunar XPRIZE, a $30 million competition for privately funded teams to put a robotic rover on the moon, travel 500 meters and send back high definition video. The competition aims to incentivize entrepreneurs to create a new technologies and affordable access to the Moon. Beyond the competition, the competition hopes to provide inspiration and impact upon the next generation of young aspiring individuals. It all started off with the announcement to open applications in 2007 at a press conference in Los Angeles with XPRIZE founder Peter Diamandis, Robert K. Weiss Vice chairman of the XPRIZE, Larry Page founder of Google and the astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
For a video of the Google Lunar XPRIZE watch Moonshot, an online 9 part video series following the teams. See below the Google Lunar XPRIZE Moon Shot Trailer from Academy Award winning director Orlando von Einsiedel & Grain Media, Executive Producer J.J. Abrams, Bad Robot and Epic Digital.
The competition spanned a decade and officially expired expired on 31 March 2018. “The Google Lunar XPRIZE is over” per the New York Times article. To this date, no team has officially met the full criteria of the original competition. However entrepreneurial achievements towards the commercial space industry have been tremendous. In March 2019 SpaceIL from Tel Aviv, Israel launched their Beresheet moon lander on a SpaceX Falcon 9. In attempt to land on the moons surface, the craft crashed upon reaching the lunar surface. This moment was the first time a private company has reached the moon, or any other planetary surface. Although the several photos have been documented along their journey. This particular journey started out simply as three young entrepreneurs with a bold goal.
Team Canada Highlights
Google Lunar XPRIZE Moonshot Episode 4 is a specific episode dedicated to telling the story of team Canada including Sergei Dobrianski, Alex Dobrianski, Luda Dobrianski and the rest of family and team. I encourage you to watch the whole series, they are all very well done. While multiple other teams had gained support of major financial backers and billionaire entrepreneurs or ivy league university support, Team Canada remained a small team. Despite the challenges as a self funded team/business they were able to make all milestones to qualify as finalists in the competition.
Below pictured is an in person visit from Chris Hadfield, former Commander of the International Space Station.
CBC Vancouver host Gloria Macarenko talks with us about the Google Lunar XPRIZE challenge. See the interview here.
Our team featured on the NASDAQ Marketsite Tower Skyscraper, New York City, Times Square
Google Lunar XPRIZE Team Canada and BCIT: BCIT alumnus weighs in on team’s departure from Google Lunar XPRIZE competition
Major Updates From Former Google Lunar XPRIZE Teams
Ongoing I will be adding updates and milestones of teams across the globe. Beyond the competition the teams have moved forward with major progress. As mentioned, SpaceIl was able to become the first private organization to reach the moon in a crash landing. Some teams have since gained major sponsorships, partnerships & funding. Others have utilised their time to form offshoot companies with the technologies learned from the audacious competition. I would say all of the teams in some way shape or form have been continually inspiring others with the bold goals they are pursuing to achieve. SpaceIl has been a good example reigniting an “Apollo effect” or wave of inspiration towards STEM fields across Israel and internationally.
- Team SpaceIL Lands on the moon, however loses contact upon crash per article link here.
- Billionaire Morris Kahn, a major team supporter of SpaceILmakes a statement about the first privately funded moon mission.
- Astrobotic awarded $199.5 million contract to deliver NASA Moon Rover, see the press release here.
- The Japanese company ispace raised $90.2 million in Series A funding, which is the largest amount in the global commercial space sector. Noted, this amount therefore tops funding initially received by even SpaceX. More information here
- PTScientists signs Red Bull Media House as Media Partner for Mission to the Moon. Press release here.
- Audi lunar quattro Moon rover stars in Alien: Covenant. View press release here.