India's private moon mission in danger of being called off

India's private moon mission in danger of being called off

India's first private moon landing by TeamIndus has suffered a fatal blow as ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) revoked the rocket deal with the space startup based in the Indian city of Bengaluru, as per a Times of India article. The launch was scheduled for December 2017, but was postponed to March 2018. The Google Lunar X prize competition is organised by XPRIZE, non-profit organisation, and sponsored by Google to land a privately-funded robotic spacecraft on the moon. Once in orbit, a spacecraft carrying the rovers would break off and approach the lunar surface.

As part of the GLXP challenge, a rover had to be put on the moon surface before travelling 500 metres to beam back high definition video footages to earth. The prize carried a total purse of $30 million, and meant to encourage a "new space race" to the Moon.

After TeamIndus has made a decision to drop out of the race the remaining four teams are Israeli non-profit SpaceIL, US firm Moon Express, Synergy Moon, an worldwide collaboration of space enthusiasts and Japan's space robotics expert HAKUTO. In October 2017, reports were there that TeamIndus was having fund issues.

TeamIndus, India's first priva-te aerospace firm, has former ISRO scientists as well as young specialists. It remains unclear if they will stick to their word. SpaceIL has also been faced with a funding crunch that could leave it out. The only two players now in the race are Synergy Moon and Moon Express. "The Chandrayaan-2 mission was publicised before TeamIndus was announced. They have much work ahead", AS Kiran Kumar, ISRO Chairman had said during an industry meet in Delhi last month. For example, Moon Express eventually plans to mine rare-earth elements on the satellite. The Peregrine is expected to be able to carry 265 kg of payloads and already has 11 deals from six countries.

As per the the XPrize rules, the private team could only seek 10% of its effort from any government agency. This is in stark contrast to the fact that the bulk of modern space innovation has been funded by grants and subsidies from governments - from the ambitious QUESS programme to SpaceX's reusable first stages for its Falcon 9 rocket. Giving some more information about the funding for the lunar mission, TeamIndus Fleet Commander Rahul Narayan said the total budget of the moon mission is around Rs 450 crore out of which they have raised more than half, nearly Rs 225 crore, and have spent.

TeamIndus had reportedly raised more than half of the approximately?450 crore funding required for the mission and was working on crowdfunding to raise more money before the deadline.

Then were issues with procuring hardware.

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