Bengaluru-based aerospace startup TeamIndus, which was one of the five finalists of Google Lunar XPRIZE Mission to set foot on the moon, is now exploring its way ahead, as the competition comes to an end.
In a recent blog post, XPRIZE authorities announced that due to the difficulties regarding fundraising, technical and regulatory challenges, the competition has been called off and the grand prize of $30 Mn will now go unclaimed.
In response to an email query sent by Inc42, TeamIndus said, “TeamIndus has been in talks with the Google Lunar XPrize over the past few weeks and had expressed its inability to meet the 31st March 2018 deadline to complete 500-meter traversal on the Moon.”
The team further added, “We respect the decision by the organisers to not extend the competition deadline any further and thank them for having created a unique platform that unleashed innovation, created newer technologies and drew in teams from various backgrounds to solve problems of enabling human exploration beyond the Earth orbit.”
Prior to the announcement of competition closure, the news of the cancellation of TeamIndus contract with ISRO’s Antrix also surfaced. Also, TeamIndus had signed a contract with the Hakuto and the same PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) launched by ISRO was supposed to be a launch-vehicle for both teams. With the end of this competition, the Hakuto team’s project has also come to a halt.
As TeamIndus stated in an official statement, Antrix and TeamIndus are mutually terminating the launch services agreement signed in 2016. Going ahead TeamIndus will continue with its goal of building a world-class private aerospace company. TeamIndus also thank Antrix for its assistance and looks forward to collaborating with Antrix in the future to take India higher and further into space.
Commenting further on its goals ahead, TeamIndus said,”We are working closely with all of our partners to ascertain their role as we expand our horizons and work on repeatedly delivering increased capacity, a precision of payload to the Moon. More details on our next phase of evolution will come up later this week.”
TeamIndus had been a solid contender in the moon race. Being 120-member startup company, and having successfully raised over $35 Mn in three rounds, TeamIndus was working on raising more money from sponsors before the deadline. Some of the company’s investors included Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, Tata Sons emeritus chairman Ratan Tata and Flipkart co-founders Sachin and Binny Bansal.
Earlier in the competition, TeamIndus had won $1Mn in the landing category of the Milestone Prizes and became one of the five teams which crossed a major milestone.
Google Lunar XPRIZE was a great chance for TeamIndus to give a ground to its ambitious goal of setting up a private aerospace company. Also, if the company was able to win the competition, not only it will add another feather of pride to India’s hat of milestones but would have also opened doors for more such opportunities in near future.
Now going ahead, as the Google Lunar XPRIZE chapter get closed for TeamIndus, what new will this Bengaluru-based company will bring on the ground, will be interesting to watch.