Team Indus to continue space mission after failing to win Google Lunar XPRIZE
Team Indus reflects on its seven-year long mission to become one of the first private players to send a mission to the Moon.
Indian private space agency, Team Indus on Thursday said it will continue to work in the field of space despite failing to win the Google-backed Lunar XPrize competition, that entailed an award of $30 million for sending a spacecraft to the moon.
"While... we will not meet the current Google Lunar XPRIZE timeline of March 31, 2018, we continue our endeavour to become the world's first private space exploration mission and are exploring alternate launch providers for the same," the company said.
The company also announced an end to its partnership with Antrix, the commercial arm of Indian space agency ISRO.
Going forward, the Bangalore-based aerospace startup says, it will utilise its expertise accumulated over the last seven years to send multiple missions over the next five years.
"We are counting on our rockstar team that has created a knowledge base, capabilities that we will now utilise to mount multiple missions over the next 5 years and to demonstrate not just the capability, but also the repeatability, precision and the ability to send back amazing science data beyond the Earth-orbit," the company said in a blog post on Medium.
"We continue to work closely with global partners, customers and the wider science community, listening in carefully to where they would like to go and how we can enable their journeys."
Lunar XPrize, a Google-backed competition, ended with no winner as none of the participants were able to send a spacecraft to the Moon by the stipulated March 31, 2018 deadline. Often called Moon 2.0, the Lunar XPrize was launched in 2007 in an endeavour to encourage private players to launch space missions. The competition was initially aimed to conclude by 2014 but was extended four times.
"After close consultation with our five finalist Google Lunar XPRIZE teams over the past several months, we have concluded that no team will make a launch attempt to reach the Moon by the March 31st, 2018 deadline. This literal "moonshot" is hard, and while we did expect a winner by now, due to the difficulties of fundraising, technical and regulatory challenges, the grand prize of the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE will go unclaimed," said the X Prize Foundation on their website.
Team Indus was the only Indian company in the race but it failed to send a mission to the Moon after ISRO cancelled its contract due to insufficient funds.