ISRO cancels contract for private Moonshot mission with Bangalore start-up Team Indus

Image source Facebook

Image source Facebook

They are one of the 5 finalists in Google's Lunar X challenge, which requires teams to land a spacecraft on the moon and guide it for 500 metres, all the while transmitting high definition video and images to earth. After a digital news portal reported on Tuesday that TeamIndus and ISRO, which was to launch the city based startups spacecraft, had called off its contract, the fate of its participation for the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition seemed uncertain.

Despite backing from Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, Tata Group doyen Ratan Tata and Flipkart founders Sachin and Binny Bansal, TeamIndus failed to even muster half of the Rs 450 crore it required for the mission to the moon, reported Business Standard.

In December 2016, TeamIndus said it had firmed up an agreement with the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) which stipulated that the advanced version of its four-stage rocket - the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, designated as Pslv-XL - would be used for the private moonshot.

As per reports, launch contract that TeamIndus signed with Antrix Corporation, the commercial wing of ISRO, was scrapped because of insufficient funds, reported Times of India.

Sputnik contacted TeamIndus and ISRO on the issue but they did not provide any information regarding the cancelation of the contract. The deadline to complete the lunar mission was fixed on March 31, 2018.


TeamIndus was one of five teams selected to compete in the milestone prizes and successfully won $1 million as a milestone prize for its landing technology.

Google Lunar XPRIZE is competition to inspire engineers, entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world to develop low-priced methods of robotic space exploration. The prize carried a total purse of $30 million, and meant to encourage a "new space race" to the Moon. The mission itself is now said to have been called off due to a paucity of funds.

According to Google Lunar XPRIZE guidelines, teams must not receive government funding in excess of 10% of their total mission cost.

He also said their spacecraft would have to be launched by March 6-8 "in the worst case". In October 2017, a team from Google Lunar XPrize reviewed the progress of TeamIndus and expressed confidence to the media that TeamIndus was ready for the moonshot. The government would have been left with egg on its face if TeamIndus had gone ahead of Isro, " said a space expert.

Of the 33 teams from 17 countries that joined the Google Lunar XPrize competition, only five stay in the fray. TeamIndus has for long maintained in its Facebook and Twitter accounts that it was ready to head for the moon.

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