Bengaluru-based aerospace company plans for first private mission to Moon. TeamIndus is planning to study lunar quakes, the temperature variation and how a gram seed grows with less gravity on Moon. The team has already started to work on technologies for its next business products. These could be in the field of satellite, sensors as well as payloads.
After the success of India’s Chandrayaan mission, a Bengaluru-based startup that has no aerospace background has aimed to launch India’s first ever private mission to the moon. The startup named TeamIndus will use ISRO’s PSLV to lift up the rover on December 28, 2017, which will land on the lunar surface and explore the site.
As per the reports, the aim of the mission is to successfully land the rover on the moon which will travel at least 500m on the lunar surface and beam back high-definition video and images back to the earth. The mission will lay the path for the bigger Chandrayaan-2 mission.
If the mission is successful then ISRO scientists will the use the technology and develop the Chandrayaan-2 lander for exploration of Moon. It will be ISRO’s second mission to the moon after the success of Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008. However, the Chandrayaan-2 mission is still in early stages and no mission update and launch dates have been announced by the officials yet.
While taking of the private moon mission, every part of the mission is being completed by the TeamIndus except the launching which is being assisted by ISRO. As per the estimates, the mission will cost around $60 million. So far, the team has raised $15 million and they aim to raise remaining funds by September-October next year.
“The total expense of the project is about USD 60 million and we have raised USD 15 million so far. We will have to raise the remaining amount by September-October next year,” TeamIndus co-founder and Director Julius Amrit said.
Renowned personalities like Ratan Tata of the Tata Group; Sachin and Binny Bansal, co-founders of Flipkart and Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys Ltd, have invested in the project.
In addition, the TeamIndus which is backed by a team of hundred engineers is aiming to win $25 million Google Lunar XPRIZE competition.
“The Moon is not only our nearest planetary neighbour, but it is also the gateway to the rest of the universe,” Google’s website describing the Lunar XPRIZE states. “The Moon provides exciting opportunities for discovery in the fields of science, technology, resource detection and utilization, and human habitation.”
Google’s Lunar XPRIZE was started back in 2007 with a goal to involve private organisations in space missions and revisit landing site of Apollo 17. Google believes that space agencies like NASA and SpaceX are planning for Journey to Mars but studying Moon can help us in developing a better understanding of our universe. The US space agency NASA started sending astronauts to the moon with Apollo missions starting in 1969. While Apollo 17 was the last manned mission to the moon and Google wants to examine the site. In addition, Google has also announced an additional $5 million prize for the mission that makes further scientific discoveries after exploring the site.
Moreover, ISRO’s PSLV rocket will be used to lift the spacecraft. If successful, it will mark another milestone in Indian space history which will also motivate other private firms towards space mission.The satellite is scheduled to launch on December 28, 2017. The PSLV will inject the spacecraft into an orbit 880 km x 70,000 km around the Earth. From there, the spacecraft will take another 21 days to land on Moon.
“India as a country is underestimated when it comes down to having a technology led firm … it is time, India is seen from a different perspective on the global platform,” said Dhruv Batra who manages product delivery for the startup.
We can be profitable in this mission. We are making a fair amount of money but investing more than what we are making right now,” said Julius Amrit, director, Team Indus.