Beyond X PRIZE: Commercial lunar space market worth $1.5B in next 10 years?

Optimism certainly abounds in some corners of the manned space community. Today the aerospace consultancy said that as much as $1.5 billion may be up for grabs for in the .

The consultancy singled out the as a highly likely group to take advantage of such a cash pot but there are many others who’d like a slice of that pie as well.

The will battle to land a privately funded robotic craft on the Moon that is capable of roaming the lunar surface for at least 1,600 feet and sending video, images and data back to the Earth. Since the competition was first announced a year ago, 567 potential teams from 53 countries have requested registration information, the foundation said. Teams must be at least 90% privately funded and must be registered to compete by December 31, 2010.

The Futron study focused on the 19 teams already registered in X PRIZE competition and came up with six areas most likely to succeed in any commercial lunar market:-hardware sales to the worldwide government sector-services provided to the government sector-products provided to the commercial sector-entertainment, sponsorship, and technology sales and licensing.

Taken together, the study projects the value of these markets to be between $1 - $1.56 billion in the next 10 years, the consultancy said.