Two more Moon Missions will be launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in early 2018, Times of India reported on Sunday. Chandrayaan-2 mission, an advanced version of ISRO’s earlier mission, and another mission by Team Indus, a group of space enthusiasts with a mission to unfurl the Tricolour on the moon’s surface will be launched by ISRO. Team Indus, which comprises mostly of young engineers, aims to hoist the Tricolour on the moon’s surface on January 26 – India’s Republic Day – after undertaking a journey of 21 days in space. The team is also eyeing Google Lunar XPrize (GLXP), thereby becoming eligible to win a total of $30 million in prize money. Team Indus is the only Indian outfit among the 33-odd teams that originally signed up for the Lunar XPrize by its December 30, 2010, registration deadline. The start-up has already won a ‘Milestone Prize’ of $1 million for its ‘lunar lander’ design in 2015.
Out of the 33 teams, only five teams, including Team Indus, remain in the running now. The Indian outfit faces tough competition from SpaceIL (Israel), Moon Express (the US), Synergy Moon (an international team made up of members from over 15 different nations) and Hakuto (Japan). The deadline for completing the project is December 31 this year.
ISRO had confirmed that the next mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-2 will be launched in the early quarter of 2018. As per AS Kiran Kumar, ISRO is currently experimenting with what is touted to be India’s most ambitious Moon mission. The mission is differentiated from the previous mission (Chandrayaan), and this time, the space organisation plans for a controlled touchdown on the lunar surface.