India’s TeamIndus will take along Japanese rival Hakuto’s rover on its spacecraft to the moon, where they will compete for a $25 million prize.
The US and Israeli teams are also in the race for Google’s Lunar XPRIZE that requires privately funded teams to land their spacecraft on the moon, travel 500 metres and broadcast high definition video, images and data back to earth.
The TeamIndus spacecraft, in addition to the Japanese Rover, will carry its own indigenously designed and developed robotic rover, ECA -- short for ‘Ek Chhoti si Asha’ (one small wish).
Team Indus won the $1-million prize in January 2015 for developing a robot that can safely land on the surface of the moon, travel 500 metres over the lunar surface, and send Mooncasts.
Earlier this month, Team Indus had inked a commercial launch contract with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for the moon mission.
TeamIndus will launch the spacecraft aboard ISRO’s PSLV that will inject the spacecraft into an orbit 800 km above the surface of the earth.
From there on, the spacecraft will set course to the moon by switching on its own engines. After landing on the lunar surface on Mare Imbrium, both the rovers would be deployed.
Team Indus is supported by industry veterans including Ratan Tata (Tata Group), Nandan Nilekani (Infosys), Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (Flipkart) and Venu Srinivasan (TVS Group) among others.
“TeamIndus can carry up to 20 kgs of payload, of which the Japanese rover is 4 kgs. In addition to that, we are carrying International University payloads and student experiments under our Lab2moon initiative,” TeamIndus Jedi Master (International Sales) Sridhar Ramasubban said.
TeamIndus has already won USD 1 million under the competition for demonstrating its landing technology. Hakuto, on the other hand, won USD 500,000 Mobility Prize for the robotic rover it developed