Tag Archives: Team Indus

Team Indus exits the Google Lunar X-Prize competition

India’s competitor for the the Google Lunar X-Prize, Team Indus, has exited the competition because it could not raise the funds needed to buy a launch on an Indian PSLV rocket.

It is unclear how this will effect Japan’s team, Hakuto, which was going to fly on the same rocket, mounted to the Team Indus lander. I suspect that their effort is over as well.

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Japan’s Google Lunar X-Prize rover arrives in India for launch

Capitalism in space: The rover being built by the Japanese team competing for the Google Lunar X-Prize has arrived in India for installation on the PSLV rocket that will launch it into space.

The Sorato rover which is flight ready will be mounted on Team Indus lander at its facility in Jakkur. HAKUTO, one of the five teams competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, has signed a ride share agreement with Team Indus (India’s first private aerospace startup) for launching the Sorato along with the Indian rover.

Team Indus’s spacecraft, along with the two rovers, will also carry a few payloads and will be launched onboard ISRO’s workhorse, the PSLV-XL. The launch is expected to take place early next year (before March 8, 2018, the date set by Google to the five privately funded teams to launch the landers and the rovers on the Moon surface).

Several important details here. First, though the Japanese team appears to have all the necessary funds to pay for their flight, Team Indus is still searching for investment, and might not have the money to pay for its share of the flight. What will happen in that case is unclear.

Second, the word Hakuto in Japan means “white rabbit.” This name was chosen because Japanese folklore says a rabbit can be seen in the dark areas of the Moon’s face. This makes Japan’s rover the second rabbit to fly to the moon, after China’s Yutu rover, which in English means “jade rabbit” a name also based on Chinese folklore.

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Major fund-raising effort for Japanese lunar mining company

Capitalism in space: The Japanese company behind Japan’s Google Lunar X-Prize finalist, ispace, announced this week a major effort in the coming weeks to obtain investment capital for its proposed lunar mining projects planned for the next decade.

ispace’s website indicates the next phase beyond the prize competition involves prospecting the moon between 2018 and 2023. Missions will include “mapping valuable resources…to determine economic value of resources. Our rover swarms are deployed on the Moon to scout crater and cave locations on the lunar poles that have a high probability of resource discovery,” the company says. In the third phase from 2024 to 2030, the company plans to “work with our strategic partners to collect, store, and deliver these valuable resources to our government, institutional, scientific, and private space customers.”

Whether its team can win the X-Prize however remains unclear, since it is dependent on the same PSLV launch that the Indian X-Prize team is buying, and that team still needs to raise $35 million to pay for the launch.

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Team Indus needs to raise $40 million for Google mission

Capitalism in space: Team Indus, one of five remaining competitors for the Google Lunar X-Prize, announced today that they are now looking for the last half of the total $80 million they need to fly their mission by December.

While hardware and technology aspects have been met, Team Indus is discussing raising finances of roughly ₹120-130 crore ($15-20 million) to meet its total mission costs of around ₹520 crore ($80 million), co-founder Rahul Narayan said on Wednesday. The startup is also offering branding opportunities for their products and services on what will be the first Indian private Moon mission, he told journalists.

Team Indus is part of aerospace innovations company Axiom Research Labs, Bengaluru. It is the lone Indian entry in the global contest, the Google Lunar XPrize worth over $20 million.

It appears that they have so far raised $40 million, and need at least $40 million more to fly the mission. It also appears that if they raise only $20 million they will fly anyway with the hope that they win the $20 million prize to make up the difference.

It is very late in the game to raise this money, which means their success remains a very touch-and-go prospect. What improves their chances however is how they are now selling themselves, not as a Google X-Prize contestant, which is nothing more than a publicity stunt, but as a smallsat construction company that can build satellites for anyone at a low cost. This is very smart.

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Fifth Google Lunar X-Prize team gets launch deal

Japan’s Team Hakuto has signed a deal to partner with another Google Lunar X-Prize competitor, Team Indus, to share the cost and launch together on a Indian PSLV rocket.

Essentially, both competitors will launch together. They will then race to the Moon to see which can first achieve the X-Prize goal of landing and roving 500 meters.

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