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India's Space launch extremely cost-effective : Japanese Team

Highlights
  • Team Indus and Japan's Hakuto are gearing up to put their rovers on the ISRO-built spacecraft scheduled to launch in December.
  • They will start communication tests of their rover with the Indian spacecraft by next week.

A year after their decision to collaborate in the Google Lunar XPrize competition, Team Indus and Japan's Hakuto are gearing up to put their rovers on the ISRO-built spacecraft scheduled to launch in December.

"Japanese launchers are very expensive, we are a private team and were looking for a cost effective launch opportunity. Since we needed a spacecraft, we asked Team Indus to collaborate with us," said Tomoya Mori, part of the 100-member team of Hakuto.Mori and others from Team Hakuto are on a two-day visit to Bengaluru. They will start communication tests of their rover with the Indian spacecraft by next week.

Team Indus lead Rahul Narayan said the engineering for the project is complete. "We begin integrations and assembly of the flight model in October and complete it in six weeks. There is significant amount of fund raising that we have to do, which has been moving relatively slower than the engineering," he said. The project will cost around $60 million.Team Indus has raised almost half of it.

The XPrize competition requires a privately-funded spacecraft to land on the Moon, get a rover to travel 500 metres, and transmit high-definition video and images back to Earth. Google is offering $20 million to the first team to pull it off, $5 million to the second team, and $5 million for a unique scientific achievement. The deadline was recently extended to March 2018.Five participants remain in the race, including TeamIndus, Hakuto, Moon Express of the US, SpaceIL of Israel, and Synergy Moon, an international group of scientists and engineers. This is down from the 30-odd that had signed up initially.


Japanese cos want to invest in startups:

Ambassador Japan's ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu, who was also on a visit to Bengaluru and who was at the Team Indus facility, said that there is a lot of interest from Japanese companies in the industrial area of Tumkur and in Bengaluru's startup ecosystem."There is a special interest in Japanese companies to invest more in startups. We are looking forward to having more pitching events," he said.


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