Google Lunar XPRIZE: How Team Indus failed?


Google Lunar XPRIZE, the global competition to develop a spacecraft to explore the Moon failed finally without any winners. The $30 million global competition could not find any of the five finalists manage to raise funds to make a launch bid by the deadline date.

Peter H. Diamandis, the Founder and Executive Chairman of XPRIZE said in a statement, "After consultation with our five finalist teams, we have concluded that no team will make a launch attempt by the March 31, 2018, deadline set for the prize."

TeamIndus from India, SpaceIL from Isreal, Moon Express from the US, Hakuto from Japan and an international team known as Synergy Moon were among the finalists of the competition.

The competition announced in 2007 aimed at challenging and inspiring engineers to find low-cost methods for robotic space exploration to the moon and to encourage commercial spaceflight and exploration. The teams needed to land their privately funded spacecraft on the lunar surface and travel around 500 meters and broadcast high definition videos of the mission back to Earth.

The organization's statement said that they expected a winner by now. But due to difficulties of fundraising, technical and regulatory challenges, the grand prize of $30 million will go unclaimed.

The first team which successfully completes the mission was supposed to win the grand prize of $20 million. The second-place team was to gain $5 million while others winners would share the prize money of $5 million.

The original deadline for the competition has been shifted many times since the first one in 2012.

The Bangaluru-based Indian team has raised around Rs 225 crore, around half of the total mission cost of Rs 450 crore. Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) had been assigned to fly the spacecraft. But the company withdrew in December 2017 unable to pay ISRO for the launch.

The teams have raised a total amount of $300 million through government contracts and investments. Google Lunar XPRIZE competition has contributed in forming first private space companies like India, Malaysia, Israel, and Hungary.