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.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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