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Moon Express

from CNBC

A start-up’s race to harvest the moon’s treasures

In a race against global superpowers, Moon Express — a private venture founded by billionaire entrepreneur Naveen Jain, space technology guru Dr. Barney Pell and space futurist Dr. Bob Richards — has cleared a path for private U.S . companies looking to explore and commercialize space.

Today the company is the first private enterprise in history to receive U.S. government approval to travel beyond Earth’s orbit and undertake a deep space mission. The goal: to land a robotic spacecraft on the moon’s surface in 2017 and analyze and explore its valuable resources that can be used on Earth.

The landmark ruling issued by the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation provides for interagency approval of the Moon Express 2017 lunar mission under the authority of the Secretary of Transportation, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other federal agencies to review and license commercial payloads missions in outer space. It adds a series of voluntary disclosures to help the federal government fulfill its supervisory obligations under the Outer Space Treaty and ensure U.S. national security.

Moon Express required this special ruling because the U.S. government has no standard method in place that would authorize and license private commercial mission operations to outer space, including the moon.

“This is as much a giant leap for government as it is for private enterprise,” said Charles Chafer, CEO of Space Services Holdings and co-founder of Celestis, a space burial service.

Millions are at stake for Moon Express. As part of Google’s Lunar XPRIZE competition, the company stands to be awarded $20 million if it successfully lands a commercial spacecraft on the moon, travels 500 meters across its surface and sends high-definition images and video back to Earth.

[ read full article at CNBC ]

Posted on August 5, 2016 by Editor

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