The competition heats up: Another Google Lunar X-Prize team, SpaceIL, has announced the signing of a launch contract, this time as a secondary payload on a Falcon 9 launch in the latter half of 2017.
Their press release says they are the first to produce an actual contract to the contest, which only means the Moon Express contract hasn’t yet been delivered.
This two launch contracts suggest that the competition for the X-Prize will get interesting in 2017. As a secondary payload, SpaceIL will not be able to schedule its launch. And while Moon Express, as a primary payload on smallsat rocket, can schedule its launch, it is depending on a new untried rocket, Electron, being developed by a new untried rocket company, Rocket Labs.
And since SpaceIL is an Israeli company, be prepared for some Muslim and leftwing heads to explode should it win the X-Prize. How dare they oppress those Palestinians by getting their rover to the Moon first!