The Bengaluru-based TeamIndus on Thursday said it has signed a launch contract to land a spacecraft on the Moon with Indian space agency, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
In a statement, TeamIndus said the moon mission is part of its bid to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE.
It said that it is the only Indian team competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE.
“The goal of the unprecedented $30 million (roughly Rs. 204 crores) Google Lunar XPRIZE 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 metres, and broadcast high definition video, images, and data back to Earth,” the statement added.
The spacecraft will be launched abroad the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) next year.
The mission will make the TeamIndus the first private entity in the world to soft-land on the lunar surface.
“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,” Rahul Narayan, TeamIndus’ Fleet Commander was quoted as saying in the statement.
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.
After landing in Mare Imbrium, the spacecraft will deploy all its payload including the TeamIndus Rover that will traverse 500 metres on the lunar surface in order to accomplish its Google Lunar XPRIZE objectives.