Jan 29, 2013

White Label Space Moves Full Operations to Japan

Media Contacts:

For White Label Space
Takeshi Hakamada
Phone: +81-(0)80-3276-1330

For X PRIZE Foundation
Eric Desatnik
Phone: 310.741.4892

White Label Space Moves Full Operations to Japan to
Pursue $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE

Tokyo, Japan (January, 30 2013) - White Label Space, an international team competing in the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, announced that it will now be run out of Japan. Previously, the team was operating out of both Japan and the Netherlands.  The team’s pivot to Japan is designed to maximize its chance of being on the winner’s podium. White Label Space is the only Google Lunar X PRIZE team currently active in Japan and has a unique network in that country’s media and space industry. 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.

Takeshi Hakamada replaces Steve Allen as team leader. Mr Hakamada was a co-founder of the team’s Japan branch and has been manager for all White Label Space operations in Japan.
Former team leader Steve Allen comments “It's been a fantastic journey and a privilege to work with so many talented space enthusiasts. Since its establishment, the Japanese branch of the team has gone from strength to strength and now it’s clear that the future of the team lies in Japan. I would like to thank all of our friends and supporters who’ve brought us this far.”

Also stepping down from his role is Dr. Andrew Barton, who was the team’s Chairman. “With under three years left until the expiry of the prize, the focus is now shifting to those teams with access to the lunar surface. Unfortunately, our efforts to develop a lunar lander in Europe were unsuccessful but flying a rover as piggyback on somebody else’s lander is still a great chance to win second prize and will make a big difference by inspiring millions of people”, commented Dr. Barton.
The Japanese branch of the team was established in 2010 with support from Tohoku University’s professor Kazuya Yoshida, an internationally recognized expert in space robotics and rovers. In 2011, the branch announced its plans to the Japanese public with a press conference in Tokyo that attracted extensive coverage in the national media. Throughout 2012, the team continued its promotion work in Japan, running a series of successful educational and public outreach events including ‘The Rover Challenge’, a traveling hands-on learning opportunity for school children.

White Label Space is one of 23 teams around the world competing for the Google Lunar X PRIZE, the largest incentivized competition offered to date. White Label Space officially joined the Google Lunar X PRIZE in May 2009. The team’s name originates from the concept of a “White Label” product, which is a generic brand developed by one company and then sold to another brand. White Label Space sees the Google Lunar X PRIZE as the beginning of the next wave of space exploration where the common person can be engaged as a contributor and not just a spectator. White Label Space was initially founded the team in 2008 by a group that included former employees of the European Space Agency. Visit www.whitelabelspace.com for more information.

The $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE is a global competition to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. To win the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a privately-funded team must successfully place a robot on the Moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high definition video and images back to Earth. The first team to do so will claim a $20 million Grand Prize, while the second team will earn a $5 million Prize. Teams are also eligible to win a $1 million award for stimulating diversity in the field of space exploration and as much as $4 million in bonus prizes for accomplishing additional technical tasks such as moving ten times as far, surviving the frigid lunar night, or visiting the site of a previous lunar mission.  For more information, go to www.googlelunarxprize.org.

Founded in 1995, the X PRIZE Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the leading organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself.  The organization motivates and inspires brilliant innovators from all disciplines to leverage their intellectual and financial capital for the benefit of humanity.  The X PRIZE Foundation conducts competitions in five Prize Groups: Education; Exploration; Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences.  Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, the $10 million Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Express Scripts, the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE, and the $2.25 million Nokia Sensing X CHALLENGE.  For more information, go to www.xprize.org.  


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