Team Selenokhod Enters $30 Million Google Lunar X PRIZE Competition

Google Lunar Xprize logo. Credits: Xprize

[X Prize Press Release - 21.09.2009]
Today, Team Selenokhod, a Russian group of engineers and managers, 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.”

For more information about Team Selenokhod, please visit High resolution photographs, video and other team materials are available upon request.

Selenokhod is a group of Russian engineers and managers working on a private moon rover project. The team will develop new technologies and purchase commercially available Russian space hardware proved during the Space Era started in the twentieth century. For more information, please visit

The $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE is an unprecedented international competition that challenges and inspires engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. The $30 million prize purse is segmented into a $20 million Grand Prize, a $5 million Second Prize and $5 million in bonus prizes. To win the Grand Prize, a team must successfully soft land a privately funded spacecraft on the Moon, rove on the lunar surface for a minimum of 500 meters, and transmit a specific set of video, images and data back to the Earth. The Grand Prize is $20 million until December 31st 2012; thereafter it will drop to $15 million until December 31st 2014 at which point the competition will be terminated unless extended by Google and the X PRIZE Foundation. For more information about the Google Lunar X PRIZE, please visit

The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured the world’s attention when the Burt Rutan-led team, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world’s first private spaceship to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for suborbital spaceflight. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation and its revolution partner BT Global Services are creating prizes in Exploration (Space and Oceans), Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, Education and Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leading model for fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit