TeamIndus, the only Indian startup in contention for the $30 million Google Lunar Xprize has announced that Tata Communications will help as its official communications partner.
TeamIndus is currently using Tata Communications’ data centre for data hosting, backup and related services, and will use their low-latency network for the final mission interconnection between deep space and network stations, said Rahul Narayan, Team Lead, TeamIndus. The network will also handle communications between Earth stations in the US and the command centre in India to ensure visibility of the space craft at all times.
“As the mission progresses, we will be using their network operations centre to enable our command centre operations.” Narayan said. All data collected from the lunar rover via the tracking stations will be routed to Tata Communications' Bangalore data centre, which hosts the computing and analytics resources of TeamIndus. The command centre of TeamIndus will then use this data to send commands back to the lunar craft via dedicated connectivity to the tracking stations.
On the lunar surface, TeamIndus will capture 360° HD photographs and video that will then be transmitted using Tata Communications’ content delivery network (CDN) to global media outlets over the Internet and on television.
Google Lunar Xprize is the largest international prize competition aimed at developing low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. The $30 million prize will go to a team that lands a spacecraft that travels at least 500 meters on the moon, and transmits high-definition video, images and data back to Earth before December 31, 2016.
On 26 Jan 2015, three teams were awarded the Landing Milestone prize—TeamIndus, Astrobotic and Moon Express. “TeamIndus has a reasonable chance of winning the Google Lunar XPrize, as long as we can ensure the right resources and infrastructure support is provided to the project team to ensure best-in-class engineering output, control schedule slippages and ensure quality compliance.” Narayan said.