Bengaluru firm in consortium to build Moon lander for Nasa

Bengaluru-based private firm Team Indus is part of a consortium that has bagged a contract from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) to design and build a lander for its next lunar mission in 2020.

The US space agency has awarded the consortium a $97 million contract to fly four payloads to Mare Imbrium, a lava plain in one of the Moon’s craters, by September 2020.
In a statement earlier this week, Nasa said it has selected three such consortia of service providers to deliver science and technology payloads under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS), as part of its Artemis lunar exploration programme.
Team Indus is part of the consortia called Orbit Beyond, a consortium of nine firms, led by a US private firm Orbit Beyond. Team Indus is the only company with lander-making credentials. The other seven firms in the consortium specialise in other aspects of aerospace and space technology.
Team Indus CEO Rahul Narayan was reportedly in the US on Thursday to sign the contract documents. A Times of India report quoting Team Indus engineer 
Ananth Ramesh said the lander will most probably be built in India. 
“Our selection of these US commercial landing service providers represents America’s return to the Moon’s surface for the first time in decades, and it’s a huge step forward for our Artemis lunar exploration plans,” Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine said in the statement. 
Nasa will provide payloads for the commercial service providers for Moon missions to conduct investigations on the lunar surface and demonstrate advanced technologies, paving the way for Nasa astronauts to land on the lunar surface. 
Nasa said the learning from these missions will not only “change our view of the universe, but also prepare our human missions to the Moon and eventually Mars”.