Putting engineers in space with Microsoft
Sending a rover to the moon: The dream of every child (however young or old) who looked up and wondered what it’s like up there. Most people would dismiss thoughts of remotely controlling a vehicle across the lunar surface as a pointless fantasy, but not TeamIndus. Despite having no background in aeronautics or space flight, and with no connections in the industry, the group, who have an average age of just 27, are working to do just that. First they need to raise 70 million dollars, but they have us (and the Indian Space Research Organisation, of course) to help them do that.
We set about spreading the word to local, regional and international media with a three-pronged attack:
Building credibility for TeamIndus by highlighting the Milestone Prize win for soft landing on the Moon and the guidance of experts from ISRO, (India’s NASA), which helped reassure potential investors that the goal was achievable as the team learned at the feet of seasoned, experienced engineers.
Increasing visibility to every corner of India and the world, from students and schoolchildren up to heads of business and investors; Cementing the message that this is”every Indian’s moonshot”; something the entire country could get behind and be inspired by.
As the story of a plucky underdog caught the attention of print, radio and online outlets, we launched Lab2Moon, a competition open to all under-25-year-olds to send their experiment into space as part of the launch. More than 3,000 teams from nine countries signed up and helped push TeamIndus further into the media stratosphere.
The massive publicity helped TeamIndus secure second-round funding, and also become the first private organisation ever to sign a launch contract for a full PSLV rocket with Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of ISRO.
Our work with TeamIndus isn’t over. Our mission only succeeds if we can maintain momentum; we’ll need even more if we want to launch rockets, not just a brand, into space.