The U.S. is Going Back to the Moon; Moon Express Lunar Mission Approved
In 1969 man made the "giant leap for mankind" when Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon followed by Buzz Aldrin. No one has ever done the same again, but there is hope as the U.S. just approved another lunar probe that will take another lander to the moon.
In a monumental decision, Moon Express, a spaceflight company, was given an approval by the U.S. government to proceed with their lunar mission. This is monumental since it is the first time that the government approved a private organization's mission to go beyond the Earth's orbit.
But before the mission was approved, it had faced a number of challenges since there is no framework yet to regulate private missions beyond the Earth's orbit. The approved Moon Express launch will not only travel to the moon but it will also pave the way for the creation of regulations concerning missions of private spaceflight companies that aims to go beyond the Earth's orbit, according to the Verge.
"With this landmark ruling, Moon Express has become the first private company approved to literally go out of this world as a pioneer of commercial space missions beyond Earth orbit," a Moon Express official said in a statement.
To go about the dilemma, Moon Express prepared their own framework on how the U.S. government can oversee the missions. It was presented and agreed upon by the Federal Aviation Administration, the White House and the State Department that after much thought was approved.
For the first time in human history, a private spaceflight company will go beyond the Earth's orbit and land on the moon by 2017. This mission is in line with Google's Google Lunar X Prize, a competition to send private vehicles to the moon, which Moon Express had joined.
Google Lunar X Prize is launched by Xprize Company that calls itself as an innovative engine that rewards to challenges presented to competitors that can be of help to humanity. According to the rules, the winning team must successfully send a robot to the surface of the moon, travel for a distance of at least 500 meters and transmit HD content from the moon back to Earth.
After the most coveted approval by the government, Moon Express is a step towards winning the competition. But now the challenge is to create the new generation spacecraft that can successfully reach and land on the moon.