In the multitude of Indian startups, there is one that is literally aiming for the moon!
Bangalore-based aerospace startup Team Indus, aiming to be the country’s first to send a rover to the moon and plant the Indian flag on its surface on Republic Day January 26, 2018, has just secured a commercial launch contract with Indian Space Research Organization.
With this, Team Indus will be the first private entity to exclusively use India’s main rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.
The team has been granted a three-day launch window starting December 28, 2017, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. If successful, the rover will land on Moon in January 2018.
And all this is being done with the intent of clinching the prestigious $30 million Google Lunar X Prize.
What is Google Lunar Xprize Challenge?
Google Lunar X PRIZE (GLXP), popularly known as Moon 2.0, is a space competition being conducted by the X Prize Foundation and is sponsored by Google. Launched in 2007, the Google Lunar X Prize aims “to incentivize space entrepreneurs to create a new era of affordable access to the Moon and beyond.”
The competition aims to see a team land a rover on the moon’s surface, travel more than 500 meters in any direction, and transmit high-definition imagery from the surface of the moon.
A cash prize of $ 20 million will be awarded for the first team to achieve this. Team Indus is one of the 16 teams that are in the race for the Google Lunar Xprize challenge (and the only Indian team to do so)
More about Team Indus
A startup which began as a group of 5 people has swiftly grown into a team of 85 over the last five years. Fifteen of the members are retired ISRO scientists and the team is led by Rahul Narayan, a Delhi-based IT professional.
The team is backed by the who’s-who of Indian business leaders, including Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, Ratan Tata of the Tata Group, and Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal of Flipkart.