Moon Express, California based company has become the first private enterprise to be granted the approval from government to launch a mission beyond the Earth’s orbit. The company doesn’t wait too long and already plans to set its first mission to the moon next year. Why they are so excited to bring their craft on the moon? Cause it will definitely bring them the victory in the Google Lunar X Prize, the competition that Google launched in 2007, who will grant 30 million dollars to the first company who will land the craft on the moon.
Plus of course Moon Express has also its sights on the moon’s natural resources, like many other private firms and national governments. As the moon is like a treasure chest, full with iron ore, water, rare minerals, which can be used in the future.
Last November, President Obama signed the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, which essentially gives private companies the rights to any materials they collect in outer space. However, the United States is also subject to the Outer Space Treaty, a 1967 agreement between 104 countries that mandates government control over any space missions.
So now, it literally means that the government has to be fast with setting up all the rules and regulations, as Moon Express is ready for the next year’s mission.
So far there is a temporary patch of rules set up between Moon Express and US government which allows the mission to be performed as long as the Federal Aviation Administration is informed, and doesn’t contaminate the moon in any way, and shows respect to other nations as well.
While Moon Express is launching its lunar craft in 2017, SpaceX is planning to send a craft to Mars the following year, and Bigelow Aerospace is eager to launch a line of space hotels in 2020. Too many plans for the space already!