Launched with an aim to boost Moon exploration, the Google Lunar XPRIZE is designed to inspire enthusiast pioneers to help develop robotic space transport on a budget. With the deadline of 31st December 2016, the contest saw huge participation from across the globe, where they had to land a robot safely on the Moon, move 500 meters on, above, or below the Moon’s surface and send HDTV Mooncasts back to the Earth. With the results finally out, it was declared that a team of Indians called ‘Team Indus’ (also the only team from India) led by Rahul Narayan has bagged the prize of $1 Million in the Landing systems category.
The India’s only entry consists of a management guru, a former Air Force pilot, a serial entrepreneur, an aerospace engineer etc. The team Indus participated in the contest with a mission to lead India into the next-gen space exploration and aviation technology. Based out of Bangalore, India, the Team Indus is managed by Axiom Research Labs Private Limited, an aerospace startup company.
To understand what category the Team Indus has won in, Google has laid out their judging criteria was based on both the software & hardware necessary for a jerk-free landing of the spacecraft on the moon as well as their attitude control, navigation & control, tracking & orbit determination in the journey, avionics, propulsion, touchdown devices, thermal control and the onboard autonomy.