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Space & Astronomy

First ever private moon landing set for 2017

By T.K. Randall
October 2, 2015 · Comment icon 7 comments

Private companies could soon be heading to the moon. Image Credit: NASA / Sean Smith
A company in California is hoping to become to the first private venture to land a probe on the moon.
Moon Express, which ultimately aims to fly commercial missions to the moon, could soon be set to claim Google's coveted 'Lunar X Prize' - a reward of $30 million to be given to the first privately funded mission to successfully land a robotic spacecraft on the surface of the moon.

To help make it happen, Moon Express has signed a five-year deal with New Zealand-based launch company Rocket Lab which will be providing its Electron carbon composite rocket to launch the new lunar probes in to space.

"The holy grail of our company is to provide, to prove, a full-services capability - not just landing, but coming back from the moon," said Moon Express co-founder and CEO Bob Richards.
The first probe, which is called MX-1, will attempt to land on the lunar surface as a test run with even more complex trips planned for the near future including a possible sample-return mission.

The decision to sign with Rocket Lab could help to make the journey more cost-effective in addition to being more widely accessible, especially given that a typical launch will cost $4.9 million as oppose to the more hefty $60 million that it would cost to launch with a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

"Rocket Lab is pleased to begin working with Moon Express to launch its spacecraft and to provide support to such an ambitious mission," said Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck. "We think the collapse of the price to get to the moon is going to enable a whole new market."

With the first launch scheduled for 2017 we won't have long to wait to see how things go.

Source: | Comments (7)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by OverSword 8 years ago
About time!
Comment icon #2 Posted by paperdyer 8 years ago
Perhaps it's time. As long as it's being done safely and intelligently.
Comment icon #3 Posted by GreenmansGod 8 years ago
About time. Doesn't sound like they are sending humans. That should be quit safe.
Comment icon #4 Posted by TonopahRick 8 years ago
If all goes well we could be in for a lot more launches of all kinds by the private sector. I hope so anyway.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Aardvark-DK 8 years ago
Bvaaa...private my a**. They will only go there to open up franchises of Walmart, McD and Dunkin Donuts...
Comment icon #6 Posted by YA AMAR 8 years ago
if anyone goes i wish a post card please ....
Comment icon #7 Posted by Calibeliever 8 years ago
*sigh* I wish this had happened 20 years ago. It was always my dream to someday go to the moon and I fear I may be getting to old for that dream now. Good wishes to these folks though. I hope they pull it off.

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