Team Indus Signs Launch Contract with ISRO

by December 1, 2016 0 comments

Team Indus, a space technology enterprise, has signed a commercial launch contract with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for its historic Mission to land a Spacecraft on the Moon as part of its bid to win the Google Lunar X Prize.

Team Indus is the only Indian team competing for the Google Lunar X Prize. The goal of the unprecedented $30 million prize is to ignite a new era of space exploration by lowering the cost and inspiring the imagination of the next generation. To win the prize, privately funded teams must land their spacecraft on the surface of the moon, travel 500 meters, and broadcast high definition video, images, and data back to Earth.

In late 2017, seven years after a group of Indian entrepreneurs with no aerospace experience signed up to make an impossible dream come true, TeamIndus will launch its Spacecraft bound for the moon aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

Announcing the launch contract, Rahul Narayan, TeamIndus’ Fleet Commander, said, “What gave us confidence to dream big when we started on this journey many years back was the heft of the scientific legacy that India, with ISRO, created over decades. This launch contract reaffirms our mission as a truly Indian mission where the best of India’s public and private enterprises have come together to realise a common dream.”

Narayan added the mission will help India join an exclusive club of nations with proven technology to soft-land on the moon, thereby opening newer avenues of space exploration for the benefit of all humankind. “Programs like these are a testimony to the Indian Government’s Make in India initiative in the increasingly competitive world of New Space companies,” he added.

“We are delighted to officially verify Team Indus’ launch contract,” said Chanda Gonzales-Mowrer, senior director, Google Lunar X Prize. “This is a notable achievement for Team Indus and we are proud to have one more team make it into the final stretch of this competition.”

A.S. Kiran Kumar, Chairman, ISRO had earlier said, “If you treat space as the new frontier, then who better than the next generation of people who bring in new innovative approaches. We want to see there is enough capacity to make use of the knowledge in India for the world market.”

TeamIndus’ journey has received support from a wide range of thought leaders including Ratan Tata, Nandan Nilekani, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, Venu Srinivasan, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, RK Damani amongst others.

The TeamIndus Spacecraft has been designed and developed in Bangalore by a 100-person engineering team including 20 retired ISRO scientists. In a launch window starting on the 28th of December, 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 North-Western hemisphere of the moon.

After landing in Mare Imbrium, the Spacecraft will deploy its entire payload including the Team Indus Rover that will traverse 500 meters on the moon’s surface in order to accomplish its Google Lunar X Prize objectives.

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