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For India, the sky is not the limit

Startup reaches for the moon in global competition

Image of a planned lunar landing which form part of the entry by India's Team Indus for the Google Lunar XPRIZE contest to land on the moon. (Photo courtesy of Team Indus)

NEW DELHI -- Just after Christmas this year, the spindly Team Indus Spacecraft, weighing 210 kg, will be shot into lunar orbit atop a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

The rocket will blast off from the Indian Space Research Organisation's range on Sriharikota island in southeastern India. The countdown will begin on Dec. 28, which just beats the New Year's Eve deadline set by the rules of the Google Lunar XPRIZE -- a global race among five finalists to land and maneuver a low-cost robotic rover on the moon's surface and transmit high-quality data, pictures and video back to earth.

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