Moscow, Russia (SPX) Sep 24, 2009
Team Selenokhod, a Russian group of engineers and managers, has announced its official entry into the Google Lunar X PRIZE - a $30 million competition that 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 as outlined in the competition's official rules.
Team Selenokhod, headquartered in Moscow, Russia with ten group members, is among 20 teams from 44 countries that are competing for their share of the $30 million prize purse.
"The contribution progress of private sector in cosmonautics is worldwide trend nowadays. The previous international contest, Ansari X PRIZE, showed that non-government companies have all possibilities to create space technologies needed to achieve ambitious goals. Team Selenokhod wants Russian companies to evaluate the experience of their foreign colleagues, to understand big opportunities of private space exploration and join us in our challenging project", said Nikolay Dzis-Voynarovskiy, Selenokhod Team Leader.
Team Selenokhod is the first Russian team to enter the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition. The team's vehicle, "Selenokhod," is comprised of two parts - a lander with a communications system and two rovers. Selenokhod rover is a small four-wheeled solar powered rover.
Each of the rovers contains four independent wheels, an HD camera, a solar panel, rechargeable batteries and a low-gain, omni-directional antenna to communicate with each other and the lander. Team Selenokhod hopes to continue Russia's leading example of space exploration by being the primary team to place the first private rover on the Moon.
"It is wonderful to have a team headquartered in Russia participating in the Google Lunar X PRIZE," said William Pomerantz, Senior Director of Space Prizes at the X PRIZE Foundation.
"Russian scientists and engineers demonstrated amazing capabilities with the Lunokhod rovers and similar mission during the first race to the Moon. Now, Nikolay and the rest of his team will be building on the heritage of those spacecraft to help bring out about 'Moon 2.0' - a new era wherein private companies and national space agencies collaborate to create a sustainable and robust program of lunar exploration. That era wouldn't be complete without the involvement of Russia's talented workforce."
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