The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Subhajit Sengupta, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
The Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP) is a space competition being by XPRIZE with tech-giant Google being its principal sponsor. The challenge invites privately funded spaceflight teams to achieve the goal of becoming the first to land a privately funded robotic spacecraft on the Moon. After landing, the craft should travel 500 meters, and transmit back high-definition video and images. The winner can bag a purse of USD 20 million.
Recently, the organizers have announced the names of five finalists which includes Team Indus from India. SpaceIL from Israel, Moon Express based in the United States, International Synergy Moon and Japan-based Hakuto complete the line-up of the finalists. The teams will be aiming to launch their missions by the end of 2017. Participation of private players and corporate is a big boost for space technology. Multiple independent research and development projects are being carried out worldwide resulting in lesser reliance on organizations like NASA for space exploration projects. Promoting a healthy competition is also essential in improvement of space technologies and funding from various corporate giants are ensuring that there are no hurdles in the path of technological advancements.
Inclusion of Team Indus from India among the finalists is a matter of pride for all Indians. The team is based in Bangalore and will be using PSLV-XL launch vehicle of ISRO to launch their craft. The success of this team can be an immense boost to Indian space exploration interests and can encourage more Indian companies to take initiatives. Moreover, it can inspire a generation of Indians to consider careers in science and technology. Thus, success of Team Indus is indeed very much essential for India.