tech2 News StaffJan 17, 2017 16:36:27 IST
The United States has allowed an Indian-American private company known as Moon Express to launch a mission to the moon in 2017. The mission is a surveying and pathfinding mission that will be the initial stages of the plans by Moon Express to establish mining operations on the Moon. The mission was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the White House, the State Department, Nasa, and other government agencies.
Co-founder & CEO, Bob Richards says "The Moon Express 2017 mission approval is a landmark decision by the U.S. government and a pathfinder for private sector commercial missions beyond the Earth’s orbit. We are now free to set sail as explorers to Earth’s eighth continent, the Moon, seeking new knowledge and resources to expand Earth’s economic sphere for the benefit of all humanity."
Co-founder and chairman, Naveen Jain says "The sky is not the limit for Moon Express — it is the launchpad. This breakthrough ruling is another giant leap for humanity. Space travel is our only path forward to ensure our survival and create a limitless future for our children. In the immediate future, we envision bringing precious resources, metals, and Moon rocks back to Earth."
This is the first time that a private company has received permission to launch a mission to the Moon, in accordance with the international outer space treaty. All previous commercial operations have so far been restricted to Earth orbit. Moon Express will make the earliest bid for the Google Lunar XPrize on board an Electron Rocket by Rocket Lab. Later in the year, two private Lunar spacecraft will also attempt to land on the moon. Hakuto Labs from Japan and India's own Team Indus will rideshare on an Isro PSLV rocket.
Moon Express has another innovative business model for Lunar missions. Moon Express wants to charge US $3 million per kilo for sending human remains to the moon. The company then wants to bring precious minerals, moon rocks and metals back to Earth, and sell them for a profit.
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