Florida based company Moon Express has been given approval by The US government for their planned 2017 robotic lunar landing. This is the first time that permission has been granted to a private company to land on the Moon, as previously they had only been able to operate on or around Earth. Only government missions have flown beyond the Earth’s orbit.
Founded in 2010 by space visionary Dr Bob Richards, billionaire entrepreneur, Naveen Jain, and serial entrepreneur and space technology guru, Dr. Barney Pell, the company aims to fly commercial missions to the Moon, and beyond.
In a recent statement Chairman Naveen Jain commented, “Space travel is our only path forward to ensure our survival and create a limitless future for our children”
According to CEO Richards they are aiming to send their suitcase sized MX-1 lander by the end of 2017. Achieving this by this date could also land them a share of the $30 million, Google Lunar X-Prize, an international competition to land a robot on the lunar surface.