London – The Team Indus Company has announced that it will launch its mission to the moon in a year’s time, as it takes part in a Google-funded competition to become the world’s first-ever privately held company to make a soft landing there. A group of more than 100 scientists and engineers, including around a dozen former ISRO scientists, make up Axiom Research Labs’ Team Indus.
“Team Indus” is the only Indian team that has participated in the “Lunar Express” contest funded by Google, which has aimed at encouraging private companies on dispatching spacecrafts to the moon.
Winning the prize that is worth USD30 million requires a successful landing on the moon through a private ship and to travel for at least 500 km along with shooting high quality pictures and videos back to earth. The competition includes 16 teams from all over the world to participate in this spatial adventure.
In a press conference in New Delhi, Rahul Narayan, the fleet commander of the team said that a full launch vehicle from Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will launch our spacecraft into the orbit of the moon end of 2017; the spacecraft is expected to land in the moon’s Mare Imbrium region.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the mission is expected to cost USD60 million; Julius Amrit, co-founder and director said that the team has collected USD15 million till this date and plans to collect more sums through companies, official sponsors, universities, and businessmen.
In case it wins, “Team Indus” will become the fourth nation to land on the lunar surface after the U.S., Russia and China.