Aditya MadanapalleDec 21, 2016 14:19:54 IST
Moon rovers from the Indian TeamIndus and the Japanese Hakuto have bagged launch contracts on the same ISRO PSLV launch vehicle. The spacecraft from both teams are going to be co-passengers aboard an ISRO PSLV launch scheduled for 28 December, 2017. Hakuto and TeamIndus are both competing for the $30 million Google Lunar Xprize, and sharing the same launch vehicle shows co-operation even in the time of competition.
Chanda Gonzales-Mowrer, senior director, Google Lunar Xprize said "We’re proud to verify Hakuto’s launch agreement and are pleased to see two Google Lunar Xprize teams collaborating on this mission to the Moon. The purpose of this prize was, in part, to foster collaboration in the private sector and this is a great demonstration of teams coming together in the next giant leap in space exploration."
The launch agreement by ISRO for Hakuto was officially verified by Google Xprize. The competing teams have to verify their launch agreements with Google Xprize before the end of 2016. Hakuto is the latest of five teams to have their launch agreements verified. Israel Based SpaceIL is attempting to win the prize on a SpaceX Falcon 9. Moon Express from the USA will attempt to bag the prize on the Electron Rocket by Rocket Lab. Synergy Moon, an international collaboration, will use Interorbital Systems Neptune 8 rocket. All five attempts are going to be made towards the end of 2017.
All five attempts are going to be made towards the end of 2017. The mission is to land a spacecraft on the moon, navigate on the lunar surface for a distance of 500 metres, and beam back high resolution photos and videos from the surface. The Israeli team SpaceIL is going for a unique "lunar hop" attempt, where the spacecraft will take off from the surface of the moon, and land again five hundred metres away. The deadline for getting the launch agreement verified is the end of 2016, so there are a few days left for any team to remain in the running. The Audi Lunar Quattro, that uses Audi technology on a moon rover, is yet to get a launch agreement verified for its Xprize attempt.