The rover’s journey was to begin with a launch onboard a PSLV rocket, and hopefully end by winning the Google Lunar X-Prize’s $20 million purse.
TeamIndus’s Eca rover. Credit: TeamIndus
Antrix, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation, has cancelled a contract it had with TeamIndus to launch India’s first private rover to the Moon’s surface, The Ken reported on January 9. As a result, TeamIndus will likely not be able to meet the March 31, 2018, deadline specified for the Google Lunar X-Prize (GLXP) and be forced to drop out.
While none of Antrix, TeamIndus and Hakuto have issued official statements, The Ken stated that it would be “virtually impossible for TeamIndus to secure another contract on any other rocket and launch before the deadline”.
According to the contract, a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) would ferry two rovers – that of TeamIndus and another by Japan’s Team Hakuto – to an orbit around Earth. Once in orbit, a spacecraft carrying the rovers would break off and approach the lunar surface. After a hopefully landing gracefully, the rovers would exit the casing. To win the GLXP, each rover would then have travel 500 metres away from its ...