An international team based in the Netherlands has entered the Google Lunar X Prize, a $30 million competition to successfully launch, land and operate a robotic rover on the lunar surface. Known as White Label Space, the new team consists of space professionals from more than 11 countries across the globe.
A "white label" product is provided ready for branding by another company, commonly used in supermarket goods, records and electronics to save the costs and risks of developing new products. The White Label Space group hopes to employ the same approach in the X Prize competition.
"When we are ready, we will sell our white label space mission to one or more of the biggest brands in the world, who will replace our White Label Space brand with their own brands, and together we will take part in humanity's next great step to a sustainable presence on Moon," the team states on its Website.
Created in 2008, the founding members of Team White Label Space include members of the Lunar Explorers Society (LUNEX) and participants in the Euromoon 2000 project, a European Space Agency plan for a lunar surface exploration. Making maximum use of Web technologies, White Label Space plans to provide an integrated promotional platform that showcases the partners' capabilities and products.
According to Team White Label, the group realized that there were numerous global companies that could finance a Google Lunar X PRIZE mission with less than 10 percent of their yearly advertising expenditure. By cooperating in the development of the White Label Space entry, Team White Label hopes to also develop new technologies and products that can be reused in future space missions.
Team White Label is the 26th team to enter the competition, which was launched in 2007 and is based on the Ansari X Prize. Mojave Aerospace Ventures, led by aircraft designer Burt Rutan and financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, won the $10 million Ansari competition in 2004 for being the first non-governmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks.