August 5, 2016
Moon Express is the first private company to obtain the approval of the US government to go where few have gone: the Moon.
The company based in Cape Canaveral, Florida, created by multimillionaire Naveen Jain in 2010 has received approval from The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States to go to the moon with robotic probes, kick-starting a new era of exploitation of earth’s natural satellite.
So far, the only attempts to reach the moon have been made by the national space programs of the United States, the Soviet Union, and China.
The approval of the private mission was confirmed by several agencies, including the FAA, the State Department, NASA and the White House.
Interestingly, the FAA determined on July 20 — the anniversary of the first moon landing by Apollo 11 — that the MX-IE payload does not put into jeopardy “public health and safety, safety of property, national security or foreign policy interests, or international obligations of the United States.”
“The Moon Express 2017 mission approval is a landmark decision by the U.S government,” said Bob Richards, co-founder, and CEO of Moon Express. “We are now free to set sail as explorers to Earth’s eighth continent, the moon, seeking new knowledge and resources to expand Earth’s economic sphere for the benefit of all humanity.”
The company’s MX-1E probe is designed to travel to the moon, perform a soft landing on the lunar surface and perform post-landing relocations through propulsive hops.
The companies moon lander is its entry to Google’s LUNAR XPRIZE, a $30 million contest to be the first to land a privately funded probe on the surface of the moon.
Interestingly, last year, we saw the creation of the US Space Act, a new law that authorizes for the first time in the history of our planet, the commercial use and exploitation of the minerals and riches found on asteroids and the moon, foreseeing that all material found by an American, or a company of the US will belong solely to them and can do with the finding whatever they please.
According to cbc.ca, before now, no government agency was recognized as having authority to oversee private missions beyond Earth’s orbit, though a 1967 international treaty holds the United States responsible for any flights into space by its non-government entities.
Also, the new law breaks with the utopian concept that space must be shared by all the inhabitants of the earth for scientific and exploration purposes, and establishes the rights of investors to profit from the personal efforts and exploitation of the moon.
It is believed that as part of the agreement, NASA will advise, not regulate, Moon Express activities on the lunar surface.