India`s Team Indus among finalists in Google prize to land spacecraft on Moon

By Salome Phelamei | Last Updated: Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 19:32

Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei

Bangalore: India`s Team Indus has been named among the five finalists of the Google Lunar XPrize, the grand global competition to land a robotic spacecraft on the Moon by December 2015.

Team Indus is co-founded by IITians Rahul Narayan and Indranil Chakraborty. The team made to the top contenders after achieving technological landmarks in the global competition that carries $40 million in prize money.

Out of 18, the nine member independent judging panel selected five teams, who have managed to qualify in certain categories- Astrobotic (US), Moon Express (US), Hakuto (Japan), Part-Time-Scientists (Germany), and Team Indus (India).
They will now compete in the final phase of three separate competitions with potential prizes totaling $6 million to be awarded later this year.

Apart from Chakraborty and Narayan, Team Indus` founding team consists of former Air Force pilot Sameer Joshi, management guru Julius Amrit and branding expert and turnaround honcho Dilip Chabria.

Both Chakraborty and Narayan, now in their 40s, grew up in Delhi. They were classmates in Delhi Public School, RK Puram, from Standard 6. They parted ways briefly for their graduation, Narayan went to IIT, Delhi, for computer engineering, and Chakraborty to IIT, Kharagpur, for aerospace engineering. Both graduated in 1995, and came together again to do startups, including one in software services in 1999.
When they heard about the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition in 2009-10, they put their entire focus on the space venture.

The Google Lunar XPRIZE is an unprecedented space competition organized by the X Prize Foundation, and sponsored by Google. To win the prize, a privately funded team must successfully place a robot on the Moon that travels more than 500 metres and transmits high-definition video and images back to Earth.

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First Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 19:32

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