New Delhi: Bringing a step closer its Moon mission, Indian startup Team Indus announced that it has signed a contract with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to send a rover to the lunar surface.
The launch, which is scheduled to take place in December 2017 from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, is part of Team Indus' bid to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE mission announced in 2007. It is the only Indian team competing for the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE.
“The goal of the unprecedented $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE is to ignite a new era of space exploration by lowering the cost and inspiring the imagination of the next generation,” Team Indus said in a statement.
“To win the prize, privately-funded teams must land their spacecraft on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 metres, and broadcast high definition video, images, and data back to Earth,” the statement added.
Besides the prestigious Google Lunar XPRIZE, the team led by Rahul Narayan, a Delhi-based IT professional, also plans to plant the flag Indian flag on the Moon surface on Republic Day January 26, 2018.
Interestingly, the mission - often referred to as "Moon 2.0" - will mkae Team Indus the first private entity in the world to soft-land on the lunar surface.
It is said that the TeamIndus Spacecraft has been designed and developed in Bengaluru by a 100-person engineering team including 20 retired ISRO scientists.
In a launch window starting on December 28, 2017, the PSLV will inject the spacecraft into an orbit 880 km x 70,000 km around the Earth. The spacecraft will then undertake a 21day journey to soft land in Mare Imbrium, a region in the northwestern hemisphere of the Moon.
As for the mission guidelines and in order to win the prize, the Robot is required to travel more than 500 meters on the lunar surface and send feedback to Earth.
Team Indus, which is the only Asian team left in the race, will be competing against 29 teams from 17 countries to win the grand prize and additional prize worth US$5 million.