Team Stellar, led by Stjepan Bedic, is proposing a vehicle called the Stellar Eagle. Sponsored by KGo Aerospace Inc., Stellar has partnered with George Washington University on development of a plasma propulsion system for the cruise vehicle. Another company, Flightline Films, has aligned with Stellar in developing the space-rated, 3-D stereoscopic camera system on the cruise, decent and rover vehicles.
Other contenders include the Juxtopia Urban Robotics Brilliant Application National (Jurban) challenge. It aims to develop a vehicle that will be launched by a conventional rocket and then powered by an electrostatic-ion-propulsion system for a flight to the Moon that could take up to 10 days. Jurban says chemical rockets will perform course corrections closer to the lunar surface while the actual landing will be cushioned using inflatable air bags.
Independence-X Aerospace is a Malaysian team led by Mohd Izmir Yamin. Few details of the team's ILR-1 lunar rover design are available, though the group says a key goal is to transform Malaysia into a “developed space country” by 2020.
Florida-based Earthrise Space Inc. (ESI) is developing a lunar rover called Sagan as part of its Omega Envoy commercial lunar delivery service. ESI, which also received a NASA Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data contract, recently added rapid-prototyping company Rapid Machining to its growing list of sponsors and partners. In December 2012, ESI also announced it had obtained U.S. government approval to work with Chile-based Team Angelicvm.
Under the agreement, Angelicvm has become ESI's “first lunar payload delivery customer.” Angelicvm's “Dandelion” rover will travel with ESI's Sagan rover to the Moon following a launch currently slated to take place in the second half of 2014. Both rovers will be attached to ESI's lunar descent vehicle, although ESI adds that “Sagan will get the first crack at roving the Moon's dusty plains, followed a few days after by Dandelion.”
The Denmark-based European Lunar Exploration Association (Euroluna) team includes Swiss and Italian members and is proposing a rover called Romit. Another broadly international team, White Label, formerly based in the Netherlands, announced in January it is moving its base of operations to Japan. “The team will now focus its efforts on furthering the development of its Japanese Moon rover, benefiting from the advice of its academic partner, the Space Robotics Laboratory at Tohoku University,” says White Label.
Based in Berlin, Part-Time Scientists is developing a rover called Asimov 1 and, as part of its project, plans to contribute to the development of a new global communications network called Comray. This is designed to link together radio dishes around the world to enable 24/7 communications with in-space assets. Part-Time Scientists says that “utilizing amateur radio frequencies, this network could potentially provide a cheaper alternative to the currently existing government and proprietary commercial networks.”
Representing Russia, Selenokhod derives its name from Lunokhod, the Soviet-era vehicles that in 1970 and 1973 became the first remote-controlled rovers to travel on the surface of the Moon. Unlike other wheeled-rover concepts, Selenokhod has adopted an unusual solar-powered craft that pushes itself along with two movable ski-like legs. The vehicle incorporates cameras and a low-gain, omnidirectional antenna, and it will be delivered by a Dnepr or Rokot launcher.
Other teams include the Barcelona Moon Team from Spain, Puli from Hungary and SpaceMETA of Brazil. “Team B” is a concept from a privately funded Canadian company, Adobri Solutions, while a team from Pennsylvania State University is developing a single vehicle, the Lunar Lion, that will serve as spacecraft, lander and rover.