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Israel’s Space IL hosts annual Google Lunar XPrize summit in Tel Aviv

Image courtesy of Space IL.
Image courtesy of Space IL.

SpaceIL, an Israeli nonprofit organization working to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the Moon, is pleased to announce that they will host the last annual Team Summit for the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The Team Summit will take place in Tel Aviv, kicking off on 31 August 2016. For the past eight years, the annual Team Summit has been hosted by a different team and city each year, serving as an opportunity for Google Lunar XPRIZE teams from around the world to gather together and celebrate their successes.

“We are thrilled to return to Tel Aviv for this important milestone and celebrate all the amazing and talented teams in the competition that are accelerating a new space economy,” said Chanda Gonzales, senior director, Google Lunar XPRIZE. “As one of two teams with a launch contract, we’re excited to visit SpaceIL’s home country for the final Team Summit before the last stretch of the competition.”

The summit will take place from 31 August 2016 to 2 September 2016 at the Google TLV campus. In previous years, the hosting countries have included Chile, Hungary, Japan, among others. Representatives will be coming in from all over the world, including United States, Canada, Germany, Japan, India, Italy, Hungary and Brazil, and even Malaysia among others. Additionally, there will be senior representatives of Google and XPRIZE.

“We’re thrilled SpaceIL was the first team to announce a launch contract and is now providing an opportunity for all the Google Lunar XPRIZE competitors to visit Israel for the last Team Summit” said SpaceIL CEO, Eran Privman. “I would like to thank the city of Tel Aviv,for joining us in hosting this international gathering. The city’s municipality will be offering its blessing and sponsorship in the form of welcome billboards around the city, and celebratory lighting on the walls of the city hall building”.

SpaceIL is a nonprofit organization working to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the Moon. SpaceIL was founded in 2010 by three young Israeli engineers, Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari, and Yonatan Winetraub, who entered the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition – an international race to the Moon. The only Israeli team in the competition out of 16 competitors, SpaceIL is building a small and smart spacecraft for landing on the Moon. SpaceIL is committed to using the potential prize money to promote the field of science and science education in Israel, in order to ensure that Israel will continue to live up to its reputation of excellence in the field. Through this mission, SpaceIL aspires to create a new “Apollo Effect” inspiring the next generation of Israelis to choose science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM). In October 2015, SpaceIL reached a dramatic milestone and became the first team to announce the signing of a launch contract (with Spaceflight), securing its “ticket” to the Moon in about two years from launch contract signing, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher.

The U.S.$30M Google Lunar XPRIZE is an unprecedented competition to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. To win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a privately funded team must successfully place a robot on the moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high-definition video and images back to Earth, before the mission deadline of December 31, 2017. The first team that successfully completes this mission will be awarded the U.S.$20M dollar Grand Prize and the second team to successfully complete the mission will be awarded U.S.$5M, with Bonus Prizes available for further technical and scientific achievements, such as surviving the lunar night or visiting an Apollo landing site. To win either of these prizes, teams must prove that 90% of their mission costs were funded by private sources.

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