Moon Express, Inc. (MoonEx) is the first private company to be approved by the United States Government to travel beyond Earth’s orbit. It has the ambitious goal to conduct a lunar mission in 2017. Dr. Bob Richards, Naveen Jain, and Dr. Barney Pell founded MoonEx in 2010 with the vision to reduce the cost of space travel and grasp the potential of the Moon and its resources as a way to secure humanity’s future on Earth and in space.
Being the first to be approved to go to the Moon by the US Government meant a long and exhaustive process of getting the proper certifications and licenses that no other company has ever sought before. In order to fly to the Moon, MoonEx required a launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation and its entire launch payloads reviewed under the Commercial Space Launch Act. Additionally, the MoonEx mission must be conducted in compliance with the Outer Space Treaty, an international agreement for the peaceful use of outer space. Unfortunately, a lone federal agency with the jurisdiction to monitor commercial space activities does not exist. As a result, MoonEx sought collective approval from all relevant government agencies through consultations led by the FAA, State Department, NASA, and the White House. Official approval from the FAA was received on July 20th, 2016.
The approval of a private lunar mission is historic, for it takes a huge step towards commercial space travel, ultimately setting the stage for the advancement of technological and scientific development. The commercialization of space travel takes a once government-only area of space and puts it into the hands of the people. In doing so, it creates a new economic forefront that is a technological and economic benefit to all of humanity.
For more information about Moon Express, please visit the official website: www.moonexpress.com.