You may have heard about the success of Apollo spacecraft. Numerous government-funded missions to the moon have been completed by USA, China, and the Soviet Union. However, in 2017, Moon Express will become the first ‘private’ company to begin its Lunar voyage.
The Florida-based firm, Moon Express has raised $20 million in financing to send a robotic spacecraft to the surface of the moon, marking an international milestone in space exploration. Until now, no private mission has traveled beyond Earth’s orbit.
The Moon Express is one of the 16 teams competing for Google’s Lunar XPRIZE, a competition to challenge and inspire engineers, entrepreneurs, and innovators to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. To win the $30 million prize, a privately funded team has to successfully place a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 meters and transmit high-definition videos and images back to Earth. Five of the competitors have secured contracts for the launch of their spacecraft, including SaceIL (Israel), MoonExpress (USA), Team Indus (India), Synergy Moon (International), and Hakuto (Japan). While there is only one $30 million prize, the company that comes second will also win $5 million.
Starting in 2010, the Moon Express got the required funds of $20 million in January of 2017 and is now, fully prepared to launch its space mission by the end of 2017. Bob Richards, the CEO announced the funding in a statement saying,
“We now have all the resources in place to shoot for the Moon. Our goal is to expand Earth’s social and economic sphere to the Moon, our largely unexplored eighth continent, and enable a new era of low-cost lunar exploration and development for students, scientists, space agencies and commercial interests.”
No matter who wins the fight of reaching the moon first as a private firm, this will undoubtedly be a massive step which aims to take the humanity to outer space in a cost-effective way.
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