The mission will be launched from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) in December next year.
"The Moonshot" is India’s only entry in the Google-sponsored Lunar XPRIZE challenge with a prize money of $30 million. To win, a team has to place a spacecraft on the moon’s surface, travel at least half a kilometer and transmit high-definition video and images back to earth. Sixteen other teams from across the world are reportedly in the race.
Team Indus was founded by the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi alumnus Rahul Narayan, Indranil Chakraborty and Julius Amrit and has a staff of retired space scientists and several aeronautic engineers.
Its aim of becoming the first Indian private sector company to have a shot at the moon has received a fillip when it received funding commitments from Tata Group’s Ratan Tata, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and Flipkart’s Sachin and Binny Bansal. So far, Team Indus has raised $15 million of the $ 60 million required to land the spacecraft on the moon.
“A full launch vehicle from ISRO will launch our spacecraft into the orbit of the moon by the end of 2017,” ``Fleet Commander’’ at Team Indus Rahul Narayan said at a news conference in New Delhi.
The project's success will boost private sector participation in a sector currently dominated by the state-owned ISRO. It has already become the first private company to be granted a dedicated launch vehicle for a space mission by ISRO.