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First ever commercial Moon landing approved by US government

by Futures Centre, Aug 23
1 minute read

MoonExpress is a California-based privately financed commercial space company. Its mission is to “open up the Moon’s vast resources for humanity, and establish new avenues for commercial space activities beyond Earth’s orbit”.

Moon landing header

On 3 August the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it had approved Moon Express’ application to land its MX-1E spacecraft on the lunar surface. This is the first time that a non-governmental organisation has ever been granted permission to land a spacecraft on the Moon.

Gaining FAA authorisation is a significant milestone for Moon Express. They are hoping to win Google’s Lunar X-Prize ‘grand prize’ of $20 million, for being the first team out of the 16 competitors to land a spacecraft on the Moon, have it travel 500 metres and stream video footage back to earth. They have already secured a contract with Rocket Lab USA to take their lander to the Moon. Now that they also have government authorisation, it looks as if they are in with a great chance of winning the prize money.

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