Team Indus set for tests, raising fresh funds

Team Indus, the space startup which is in an international lunar landing race, has said its spacecraft model is slated for qualification tests in August.

A full dress rehearsal of the lander-rover will be possible by October, ahead of the planned launch in 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.

As many as four other international teams are also bidding to be the first ever private-funded team to land on the Moon and move a rover there. The missions must be launched before December 31, 2017.

“We are working towards doing the mission in the last week of December,” Mr. Narayan said.

Their 600-kg spacecraft is slated to take off on or around December 28 on the Indian PSLV booster.

Before that, the “structural” third model of the spacecraft-cum-lander will be tested at the facilities of ISRO Satellite Centre here.

P.S. Nair, Jedi Commander (Structures) and former ISRO deputy director, said: “We are ready from the structures and mechanisms point.”

The flight model or the actual spacecraft that will fly to the Moon is as good as ready. ‘Drop’ tests for the spacecraft’s landing gear are being conducted at the CSIR’s National Aerospace Labs in the city.

The spacecraft will carry the rover, ECA, whose model is also getting ready.

A spare replica will also be kept on standby, according to engineers Ananth Ramesh and Karan Vaish.

Regarding finances for the mission, Mr. Narayan said, “We are at the halfway mark after completing the equity and (paid-for) payload parts. Now we are working with (consumer-oriented) partners who will be our potential sponsors for this mission and later also.”

A public- or crowd-funded option, for another $ 15-20 million, will be broached later.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 1:07:32 AM |

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