What can be considered a thing of real pride for India, a Bangaluru based startup, Team Indus, has become the winner of the first leg of the Google Lunar Xprize and earned itself a prize money of $1 million in funding. The space centric startup will use the funding to launch India’s first privately-funded space mission.
The space entrepreneurs from Team Indus are hopeful of launching a rover by July next year, which can then be expected to land on Moon’s surface in approximately 20 days after the launch. The rover is said to weigh around 20kgs, and will be capable of carrying a payload of 250 grams.
According to the current plans, the rover will be launched from the much famous Sriharikota space centre in India. Apparently, Team Indus is receiving immense support from ISRO with a few former ISRO scientists even providing their expertise for this first-ever privately-funded space mission. The entire project is said to be worth over a gigantic $60 million.
According to the space startup, it took them a total of five long years to ideate and conceptualise the entire project from front to back. Further, after they saw that no other Indian startup was taking part in the Google competition, they decided to take the plunge.
What makes this particular private space mission so special is the fact that it is taking into account public opinion in order to narrow down what should be actually sent as the 250 grams payload with the rover to the moon in 2017. In order to arrive at the final decision, the startup has launched an event ‘Lab 2 Moon’, where it has asked suggestions from 14-25 years aged students for the 250 gram payload.
Launched in the year 2007, the main idea behind the Google Lunar Xprize competition is to attract space entrepreneurs towards creating affordable access to the Moon and beyond by incentivising them.
According to the rules of the competition, any team which is successfully able to land a privately funded rover on the moon, which then travels 500 meters, and transmits back high definition video and image, will be awarded with a prize money of $30 million.
The first team emerging victorious by completing the mission walks home with a prize money of $20 million, while the second position team gets $5 million in prize money.
Hence, Bangaluru’s Team Indus isn’t solo in this battle of the highly competitive space voyage race. Here’s wishing Team Indus all the very best, so that it becomes the first among its counterparts to land on the moon and also simultaneously that final prize money amount of a whopping $20 million.