With Moon Race Called Off, Antrix And TeamIndus Also End Launch Agreement

TeamIndus was participating for the Google Lunar XPrize. The global race with a prize money of $30 million was seen as a competition to challenge and inspire engineers

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With Moon Race Called Off, Antrix And TeamIndus Also End Launch Agreement

TeamIndus had planned to launch a spacecraft aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle

New Delhi:  India's space agency ISRO's commercial arm Antrix today said its launch services agreement with space company TeamIndus has been "mutually terminated". Bengaluru-based TeamIndus had said it would launch a spacecraft aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in 2018.

In a statement, Antrix's Chairman and Managing Director Rakesh Sasibhushan said his company remained committed to encouraging and promoting private enterprise in space.

"Antrix and TeamIndus are mutually terminating the launch services agreement signed in 2016. TeamIndus also thanks Antrix for its assistance and looks forward to collaborating with Antrix in the future... Antrix takes this opportunity to wish TeamIndus all success in its future endeavours," he said.

TeamIndus was participating for the Google Lunar XPrize. The global race with a prize money of $30 million was seen as a competition to challenge and inspire engineers, entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration.

However, none of the participants, including TeamIndus, could stick to the deadline, which prompted the organisers to call of the contest.

"Today, we announce that after consulting our teams over the last few months, that there will not be a launch by March 31st, 2018, and our grand prize will go unclaimed. We are exploring a number of ways to proceed, to continue to support our teams," Google Lunar XPrize tweeted.

The earlier plan of the TeamIndus was to inject the spacecraft into orbit, and the spacecraft would then set a course to the Moon using a series of complex orbital manoeuvres.

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"TeamIndus has been in talks with the Google Lunar XPrize over the past few weeks and had expressed its inability to meet the 31 March 2018 deadline to complete 500 metre traversal on the Moon," TeamIndus said in a statement.

It added, "We have formally, amicably and mutually closed our launch services agreement with Antrix. We continue to look towards Antrix and ISRO as our preferred partners of choice for all our future endeavours."

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