Moon mission of ‘Team Indus’
Team Indus, the private Indian initiative to land a Rover craft on the Moon, aims to raise $40 million through a mix of corporate sponsorship and crowd funding before its scheduled lunar rover mission launch in December. The aerospace startup, which has been financially backed by a host of senior personalities including Ratan Tata, Nandan Nilekani, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, as also Accel Partners’, Subrata Mitra and Shekhar Kirani, has raised $20 million so far in equity funding and another $20 million in payload partnerships for carrying third party payloads in the spacecraft.
Founded in 2011 by IIT-Delhi alumnus Rahul Narayan, Team Indus is part of the Google Lunar XPrize competition to land a privately-funded rover on the Moon by December. It will carry 11 payloads in the spacecraft along with its own rover. The spacecraft and rover are under construction at the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) but the final assembly of the rover and spacecraft will happen at the Team Indus facility in North Bengaluru.
Team Indus is supported by companies including Tata Communications, L&T Engineering and Sasken, as also many current and former ISRO scientists. The company sees a huge opportunity in beefing up its knowledge in launching and managing communication satellites, given the explosive growth in communication in India. “We have also built strong relationships with the space agencies of France, Japan and the UAE,” Narayan said.