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ISRO, CNES ink pact on satellite launch

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and French Space agency (CNES) have signed a partnership agreement in satellite launch technology.

The agreement was signed between ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar and CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall in the presence of visiting French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Key Facts
  • Space cooperation is one of the cornerstones of the Indo-French strategic partnership and spans over 50 years. ISRO is the second partner of CNES, in terms of volume, after NASA.
  • This agreement will strengthen the CNES-ISRO partnership. It will enable France to benefit from the Indian model of streamlining the costs of space programmes.
  • Besides, agreement was also signed for equipping Axiom Research Lab’s lunar rover with two latest-generation CASPEX micro-cameras, developed by CNES in partnership with French firm 3DPlus.

Axiom Research Lab: It is leading Indian “NewSpace” start-up put forward TeamIndus, the only Indian team competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE. CNES is providing cameras to Team Indus’ rover that will land on moon.

XPRIZE: It is a global competition organised by Google for engineers and entrepreneurs to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. It will award $20 million to the first private company that successfully lands a module on the Moon, places a robot that explores at least 500 metres and transmits HD videos and images back to Earth.

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TeamIndus to launch India’s first private moon mission in 2017

TeamIndus, a private aerospace starup company is planning to send a spacecraft to the moon aboard an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) rocket on December 28, 2017.

It will be India’s first private moon mission to be launched. It will be launched onboard of ISRO’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

Key Facts
  • TeamIndus moon mission’s aim is to land this spacecraft on the moon. It will also travel at least 500 metres and beam high- definition images, video and data back to the earth.
  • Except for the launch vehicle, all of the technology that will power the lander and rover will be developed in-house by TeamIndus.
  • For launching purpose TeamIndus has signed an agreement Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO.
  • ISRO’s workhorse PSLV will launch the TeamIndus’s spacecraft in a three-day window centred on December 28, 2017.
  • After completing a rotation around the earth, the spacecraft will land in 21 days at Mare Imbrium, a region in the North-Western hemisphere of the Moon.
  • If the mission goes successful, it would likely pip ISRO’s proposed moon-lander mission — Chandrayaan 2. Its launch date is not yet formally announced.
Background

TeamIndus is one of the four international teams (only one from India) running for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a $30 million competition. The competition aims to encourage private companies to launch space missions. Other three international teams include two US based companies, Moon Express and Synergy Moon and one Israeli company SPACE 1 L. So far, all of them have announced agreements with space-launch-vehicle companies such as SpaceX.

About TeamIndus

  • TeamIndus is Bengaluru-based private aerospace company. It is led by Rahul Narayan.
  • It has 100-member team of engineers, space enthusiasts, former Air Force pilots and former ISRO employees.
  • It has high-profile investors, including Ratan Tata of the Tata Group; Binny and Sachin Bansal, co-founders of Flipkart and Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys

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