Apr 28, 2011

Wanted: Marketing and Public Relations Volunteers for our Mission to the Moon

When you think of space you’re probably thinking of rocket scientists, astronauts with the right stuff, rovers roaming on Mars, or maybe just you’re thanking the weather and GPS satellites that give you important guidance on what to wear (will it be sunny or rainy tomorrow?) and how to navigate around town. Once it was the ‘sciences’ that had to get creative to launch the space race and make our lives easier, now the world of communications and media is getting creative to carry us to the next step: Thanks to the Google Lunar X PRIZE (GLXP), space is a lot closer than you think.

Teams from all around the world are competing in the GLXP and White Label Space is making significant progress in building the right know-how and new and exciting equipment for our mission, like our own rover from our Japanese Team, and a moon lander, pioneered and currently undergoing testing by our design team in Europe.

WLS is now looking for bright marketing, public relations and creative sparks who see the potential of space and wish to participate. If you share the vision of WLS and can share it with potential sponsors and news outlets, then we want to hear from you.

For more information, contact our Commercial Manager: simon.drake@whitelabelspace.com


Apr 27, 2011

White Label Space East Meets West

April 2001 - The Chairman of White Label Space, Dr Andrew Barton, visited Tokyo to participate in a number of events with the White Label Space Japan team members. The video embedded below shows footage from three particular events; a team strategy meeting, a social event at an Izakaya (traditional restaurant) and a visit to the supplier of the rover's mobility subsystem.

Apr 24, 2011

Opening Space Up to Small and Medium Sized Businesses

Many small parts make the whole, and assembling a mission to compete in the Google Lunar X PRIZE requires the combination of many high-tech parts, in-house developments (like the rover developed by White Label Space in Japan) and sponsorship.

White Label Space recognises that the foundations of nations’ economies rely not on large corporations, but on the millions of Small to Medium Enterprizes (SMEs).

If you want to associate your SME with a truly exceptional 21st century endeavour, then for as little as €100 (tax deductible in some countries), you can sponsor White Label Space, become part of our mission, and receive a Certificate documenting your contribution.

Naturally larger sponsor packages and exposure are available, yet for a small amount you can be part of something great - the next Space Race.

Take a look through our website to learn more about us and how we're assembling our Google Lunar X PRIZE mission - your sponsorship contribution to White Label Space will leverage awareness of your brand far higher than anything on earth.

Sponsorship via a Pay Pal donation can be made HERE.

Our Promotional Video:

A Presentation about Sponsoring White Label Space:


Apr 23, 2011

WLS Team at Rio Tinto!

The Rio Tinto Mission was successful and a great experience to test WLS equipment and operations. Andrea and Carmen stayed in Rio Tinto between the 17 and 20 of April. Vasco stayed for 18 and 19. We had rain for the entire 19, and for the major part of the 20; the rain caused problems and delays to the simulation, and required us to cover the Lander mockup for most of the time. The guys from the Austrian Space Forum were really nice with us, and offered us equipment and support as soon as their busy schedule allowed them. During the 18, we had the chance to perform some tests using the Phileas rover with our camera onboard. Maarten came on 19: given the rain, we moved the Lander under a tent, and we filmed an interview with him. On the next day, even if Martin was working for Discovery Channel, he took some time to film our operations with the Dignity rover and the involvement of the WLS Lander during a simulated EVA.

Despite the problems caused by the broken glass of the camera, the resulting images from the tests offer a good idea of what the final result could be. We shoot various test pictures, and then we shoot a sequence with the camera at various distances from the Lander (1m, 5m, 10m, 15m, 20m, 30m and 40m). The Lander can be used as a landmark up to 40 meters: at this distance, even with the plastic cover, the metallic features of the Landers are still detectable with naked eye in the picture, and could be easily enhanced with image processing.
We shoot a 5 minute movie while moving the Phileas rover around. The rover was damaged during transportation to Rio Tinto, and so we were not able to move on its own wheels. Fortunately we had the permission to carry it around by pulling it with a tether.
On the April 20 we were allowed to use the Dignity rover to test a damage inspection scenario around the Lander. The dignity rover is similar, in size and dimension, to the White Label Space. So we performed damage inspection, exploration of the surrounding and sample manipulation. The operations were executed using the remote control in proximity of the rover. We also performed some remote manipulation from the Control Center using the rover camera: unfortunately the system was experiencing interferences and bandwidth problems, and so we were not able to perform safely remote movement.
The Lander was also used by the Austrian Space Forum for a damage inspection performed by the suited astronaut. The entire sequence was filmed by the media present.

The following video is from our test with the Lander and Dignity rover inspection, simulating the first minutes of operation of the rover after landing.

Apr 21, 2011

Video of Testing at Rio Tinto

This is a video by the Austrian Space Forum (OEWF) shows some testing activities at the Rio Tinto Mars Analog Testing earlier this week.

The video shows an astronaut in the Aouda.X mars spacesuit driving ESA's Eurobot rover. The White Label Space lander mock-up is also visible nearby at the end of the video.

Apr 20, 2011

White Label Space Japan fund raising for Disaster Relief

First, we would like to express our sincere sympathy to all those affected by the Tohoku-Pacific Earthquake, Tsunami and following disasters.

We have started collecting relief donations from 7th April 2011via “JustGiving”, UK’s first online fundraising service, for the affected people in Japan by the series of disaster. White Label Space Japan is the only team participating in the Google Lunar X PRIZE from Japan, which will award a total of $30 million in prize money to the first privately funded teams to land a robot on the surface of the Moon and operate specific missions.

As a representative of Japan, we are leveraging our GLXP network with 29 teams participating from around the globe and collecting relief donations not only from Japan, but also the whole world. We will donate all collected funds to CIVIC FORCE, a non-profit association that provides prompt and effective disaster relief to large scale natural disasters in Japan.

Term of donation:
from 7th April 2011 to 31st May 2011 (tentative)
Where you can donate:
The organization where the donations go:
Public interest incorporated association in Japan "CIVIC FORCE"

※What is Google Lunar X PRIZE ?
A total of $30 million in prizes are available to the first privately funded teams to safely land a robot on the surface of the Moon and have that robot travel 500 meters over the lunar surface and send images and data back to the Earth.

※What is White Label Space Japan LLC ?
The only team participating in GLXP from Japan, WLSJ is participating in the White Label Space team, founded in the Netherlands. WLSJ is in charge of development of the team's Lunar Rover and PR in Japan.

Civic Force provides prompt and effective disaster relief to large scale natural disasters in Japan. Currently it is transporting relief goods and experts by helicopter and trucks to the affected areas.

民間企業による月面探査を競う総額3000万ドルの賞金レース「Google Lunar X PRIZE(グーグル・ルナー・エックス・プライズ)」に参加するホワイトレーベルスペース・ジャパンは、2011年4月8日(金)よりグローバルな募金活動を展開するファンドレイジング・サイト「JustGiving」を活用した「東日本大震災支援金」の募金活動を実施いたします。
ホワイトレーベルスペース・ジャパンは世界から29チームが参加するGoogle Lunar X PRIZEの日本代表チームとして、独自のネットワークを活用し、日本国内のみならず広く海外からの募金活動(通貨はユーロのみ)を行います。集められた募金は「東日本大震災支援金」として、被災地で支援を行う公益社団法人「CIVIC FORCE」に寄付いたします。集められた寄付金は「CIVIC FORCE」を通じて、被災地の皆様のために活用されます。

以 上 
※Google Lunar X PRIZE (GLXP/グーグル・ルナー・エックス・プライズ)について
Googleがスポンサーとなり、X PRIZE財団によって運営される月面探査を競う総額3000万ドルの賞金レース。ミッションは、2015年12月31日までに月面に純民間開発の無人探査機を着陸させ、着陸地点から500m以上走行し、指定された高解像度の画像、動画、データを地球に送信すること


※公益社団法人「CIVIC FORCE」について

Apr 18, 2011

Day one at Rio Tinto

Day one at the Austrian Space Forum Mars Analog mission. The White Label Space team had an early start with the unpacking and reassembling of the lander mock-up, and also with preparing the omnidirectional camera and setting up the software to process video and images collected. During the day we moved the Phileas rover around and took some pictures and videos near the lander - this time a "Mars" landing site.
Tomorrow we'll be trying to deal with some issues related to camera stability, image quality, Mission Control, Rover remote connection, and probably more...

Apr 17, 2011

Rio Tinto Mars Analog Event Rehearsal Wrap-Up

This week our friends at the Austrian Space Forum (OEWF) are holding a Mars Analog event at Rio Tinto in Spain, and there will be a substantial contribution by White Label Space.

Check out this blog post on the OEWF site summarising the results of the recent rehearsal for the event. Note the White Label Space lander mock-up, which got the chance to meet a Mars-bound astronaut.


Apr 13, 2011

Rover Mobility Assembly Delivered

This photo of the White Label Space rover prototype's mobility assembly was taken earlier this week during a final delivery meeting at the supplier in Tokyo. The mobility assembly will now be integrated with the main body of the rover and testing of the rover protoype will start soon thereafter.


Lightcurve Films

Lightcurve Films is White Label Space's partner for video production.

Lightcurve Films is a small film production company specialised in films about science and technology. The company has worked for institutes and agencies across Europe in the space sector (European Space Agency, Italian Space Agency, German Space Agency, French CNRS, European Planetology Network, Paris Observatory), medical sciences (VU Medical Centre Amsterdam, Dutch Thoracic Society) as well as for Discovery Channel Canada.

Lightcurve Fillms received its first television credit with the broadcasting of the documentary Spiral Galaxy, in 2009.

See also:


Apr 3, 2011

Rio Tinto Dress Rehearsal - April 1-3, 2011 @ Innsbruck, Austria

Thursday 31-03-11

I arrived to the Austrian Space Forum on Thursday afternoon. The Spacesuit team gave me a warm welcome, and gave me an update about the preparation for Rio Tinto Dress Rehearsal. The Lander Mock-up and the rover were not here yet; they were expecting them to arrive the next day. There was a good and a bad new: the omnidirectional camera was here already, but unfortunately the glass tube was broken during its way from Canada to Innsbruck. The surface of the mirror had some scratches because of the glass pieces so it was polished. We needed to improvise using plastic sheet to replace the broken glass. Martin Seebacher was really helpful to have this solution ready by the end of the night. Glue and tape was used to fix the plastic sheet into the tube rings. We worked our best to minimize the visibility of glue lines or tape on the pictures taken after this implementation.

Friday 01-04-11

Some tests were done with the camera to fix the field of view of the lens. Pictures of the broken glass were sent to John Walker in order to ask for insurance. The Lander mock-up arrived during the morning and the first thing I noticed was that only one orange belt was around the gray container. The belt was damaged, what it means that there were some issues during the transportation.

I verified that all the pieces were inside the box, and took them to the roof to proceed with the Lander Mock-up assembly. The roof will be the simulated Moon/Mars field.
During the afternoon, we had a general meeting with all the teams involved in Rio Tinto Expedition. Gernot Groemer explained us the different experiments involved in the mission, and he gave us general announcements which are basically explained in the ‘Mission Manifest’ V1.2 (23Feb2011).

Spacesuit tests started during late afternoon, and I started to test our video application with the omnidirectional camera. The rover arrived, and it was necessary to figure out a way to mount the camera on the rover mast. With the help of Martin Seebacher, a simple rapid prototype holder was designed and printed late night.

Saturday 02-04-11

The camera holder was placed on top of the rover mast. This holder was made of two different plastic pieces, which ones we fix together with glue/gel. We will use the Philleas Rover to test the omnidirectional camera, but unfortunately the rover today presented different problems related with the wheels, and the electronics. People in charge of the rover worked the entire day trying to fix the problems, and at the end the rover was able to move straight, back and forth. A problem with the motor is still present, so hopefully this will be solve by tomorrow morning before the robotic tests.

The application to take pictures and video with the omnidirectional camera was ready, and a request about using a different OS or an extra laptop on board the rover was made.

Today, the spacesuit test included a simulation where the astronaut took a ‘contamination sample’ from the Lander. Two complete simulations were done during the day, improving all the logistic process for the second time. Good lessons learned from today, and for sure this will help to have a successful mission in Rio Tinto.

Sunday 03-04-11

The camera was finally mounted on the rover mast. The camera will be powered by USB, using an extension if necessary. We will wait until the end of the day to see if the problems with the rover’s motor are solved.

The EVA today includes our Lander. Three small pieces of paper with numbers were placed - without using any tape just the paper - in different parts of the Lander. The suit tester will need to search for the papers while simulating an inspection of the Lander for possible damages.

Apr 1, 2011

Marco Ostini Talks about Lunar Numbat Throttle Controller

In this video interview Marco Ostini gives some insight into why Lunar Numbat chose to partner with Google Lunar X PRIZE team White Label Space.

He also gives details and on the great work that his team are doing with the Australian Space Research Institute (ASRI) that also benefits White Label Space's Google Lunar X PRIZE mission.