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OUR STORY

From starting out as last-minute contestants in a space race to unlocking a whole new industry in the country, our seven-year journey has been quite eventful and enlightening.

This is our story

2007
SEPTEMBER 2007

THE NEW SPACE RACE

The Google Lunar XPrize was announced—the largest incentivised space exploration challenge in human history. It sought to challenge entrepreneurs world over, to develop low-cost methods of space exploration.

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2010
DECEMBER 2010

A LAST-MINUTE ENTRY

A small group of friends registered as the only Indian team competing for the Google Lunar Xprize on finding that India had no other representative. None of them had the first clue about a space mission. They saw a problem and they wanted to solve it.

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2012
MAY 2012

ENTER THE FIRST EMPLOYEE

Nirmal Gadde, fresh out of IIT Kharagpur, joined the team. He helped the team visualise and detail out the mechanics of the spacecraft. TeamIndus had gotten onboard their first member with technical knowledge in aerospace.

2012
NOVEMBER 2012

AN IN-HOUSE ROBOTIC ROVER

ECA or Ek Choti si Asha was created as version 0.8. This model was designed with the Ackerman steering concept and a deployable masthead.

2013
MARCH 2013

A MEETING THAT INSPIRED THE DREAM

TeamIndus met former ISRO Chairman and Rajya Sabha member, Dr. K Kasturirangan to discuss the mission. The sit-down that was to end in a matter of minutes lasted for nearly two hours. This was the first validation that such a mission would be possible from India.

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2013
APRIL 2013

SHIFTING BASE SOUTHWARD

Rahul Narayan and the first few members of the team moved from Noida to the hub of the aerospace ecosystem in India—Bangalore. The team began working from National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL).

2013
JULY 2013

FIRST REVIEW WITH DR. K KASTURIRANGAN

The propulsion system designed for the spacecraft’s descent on the moon was reviewed by Dr. Kasturirangan and team. It was his suggestion to initiate conversation with Antrix Corporation about the trajectory profile.

2013
NOVEMBER 2013

THE SHAPE OF A SPACECRAFT

The first version of the spacecraft was designed. It had a 3-engine configuration, its propulsion and fuel systems borrowing from ISRO. This design was set to weigh 850 kg of which 40 kg would be payload.

2014
AUGUST 2014

EXPOSING DESIGNS TO FEEDBACK

The Preliminary Design Review or PDR was done by a panel of ISRO experts, where the entirety of the team’s work on its systems was prodded, questioned and ripped apart. This was also when the team realised they will need ISRO’s expertise.

2014
SEPTEMBER 2014

SPACECRAFT V2.0

The second generation of the spacecraft was built within just 90 days in the L&T facility in Coimbatore, after much logistical coordination for the materials. This version moved away from the original fuel and arrangement of thrusters.

2014
DECEMBER 2014

TESTING TIMES

An international jury of five rocket scientists witnessed testing of the TeamIndus spacecraft for landing and imaging at ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC), NAL, Centum Electronics and United Labs.

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2015
JANUARY 2015

THE MILESTONE PRIZE

All the last-minute scramble and the breath-holding paid off and how. TeamIndus won the terrestrial milestone prize for landing—a prize of $1 million. It was a great moral boost for the team.

2015
OCTOBER 2015

OUR VERY OWN WORKSPACE

TeamIndus moved to a custom-made workspace in Jakkur, complete with a design facility and a mission control centre.

2015
DECEMBER 2015

WHEN SAGES JOINED THE MIX

As time wore on, it became clear that the mission needed expert guidance in a more hands-on fashion. Retd. ISRO scientists, who had only consulted for TeamIndus so far, joined them full-time.

2016
July 2016

ECA’S FIFTH EVOLUTION

ECA 5.0 was a design where thermal, structural and operational aspects were optimised. Her cameras were also stepped up, including a single-point hold-down mechanism with the lander.

2016
DECEMBER 2016

AN IN-DEPTH EVALUATION

The Detailed Design Review or DDR was a lengthy four-day process by experts from the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), the Indian Institute of Science(IISc), ISRO and NAL. This review yielded a go-ahead to start construction of the latest structure of the spacecraft and plenty of feedback on the software for the entire mission.

2016
DECEMBER 2016

THE HISTORIC LAUNCH CONTRACT

TeamIndus signed a first-of-its-kind launch contract with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)—the first instance of a public-private collaboration for space exploration in India. This was the start of #HarIndiankaMoonshot. The Moon mission had become truly Indian.

2016
DECEMBER 2016

COLLABORATING WITH HAKUTO

TeamIndus and Hakuto entered an agreement to take Hakuto’s rover Sorato aboard the spacecraft. It would be a 500 m dash on the lunar surface between the two teams.

2017
JANUARY 2017

THE FINAL CUT

The race was neck-and-neck. Only five of the 30 qualified teams were short-listed to continue on their journey to the Moon.

2017
JULY 2017

PREPARING FOR THE LAST LAP

The third generation of the spacecraft, the qualification model, is being integrated now. This version, wider, shorter and lighter than before, will be soon be on its way to the Moon.

2018
JANUARY, 2018

THE FIRST INDIAN MOON LANDING

ECA is set to land on Mare Imbrium and beam high definition media back to us, marking the first instance of the Indian flag on the Moon. This will be the big moment that we have all worked for, for eight years. ECA will have taken every Indian’s moonshot.

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