India’s space endeavours continue to raise brows with the only India team competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE having inked a deal with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for a late 2017 launch.
According to the plan, ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will inject TeamIndus’ spacecraft into orbit 880 km x 70,000 km around the Earth on December 28, 2017. The spacecraft will then undertake a 21-day journey to soft land in Mare Imbrium, a region in the northwestern hemisphere of the Moon. Once the spacecraft has landed, the payload including TeamIndus Rover will be deployed. The rover will traverse 500 metres on the lunar surface in order to accomplish its Google Lunar XPRIZE objectives.
The mission will make the TeamIndus the first private entity in the world to soft-land on the lunar surface. TeamIndus says that through the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a new era of space exploration will be ignited that will inspire low cost missions to space as well as inspire the imagination of the next generation of space scientists as well as entrepreneurs.
“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.
Rahul Narayan, TeamIndus’ Fleet Commander said that the legacy of ISRO that started years back gave them the confidence to proceed. The launch contract with ISRO reaffirms TeamIndus’ mission as a truly Indian mission where the best of India’s public and private enterprises have come together to realise a common dream.
The TeamIndus Spacecraft has been designed and developed in Bengaluru by a 100-person engineering team including 20 retired ISRO scientists.