Moon Express has managed to fully finance its maiden mission to the Moon by raising a $20 million sum in its latest round of funding. This round takes the company’s total funding to the tune of $45 million. And all of its is private investment!
More importantly, the company now has enough to fully finance its mission to earth’s closest neighbor. And of course, it already has all the regulatory permissions required considering that it was the first private company ever, to receive permission to touchdown on earth’s satellite.
Speaking on the topic, Bob Richards, co-founder and CEO of Moon Express, said
We now have all the resources in place to shoot for the Moon. Our goal is to expand Earth’s social and economic sphere to the Moon, our largely unexplored eighth continent, and enable a new era of low cost lunar exploration and development for students, scientists, space agencies and commercial interests.
The company is planning to send its MX-1E spacecraft to earth’s closest heavenly neighbor in a very ambitious mission that if successful, will make it the first private entity to touch base. It would also be the fourth organization overall, after US, Soviet Russia and China.
In the company’s favor, technology has significantly evolved since the time when these countries sent their rovers to the moon. What’s more, it also has others experience to draw upon. However, while its predecessors had all been government funded and as such, did not have any dearth of resources — Moon Express would need to be rather careful with the resources it has gathered.
Meanwhile, the company is also participating in Google’s Lunar X-Prize competition, that requires it to send a rover to the moon, travel 500 meters across its surface, and transmit high-definition video and images back to Earth. Only if the company manages to complete all three objectives, would it be able to qualify for the grand prize of $20 million.
And of course, there is plenty of competition as well. Competitors include TeamIndus from India, Israel’s SpaceIL and others, all of which are vying to be the first to land on the satellite with their rovers. We will likely know the outcome of the competition in this very year — considering that, it is the deadline set by the X-Prize foundation for the participants to complete the objectives.
The company is sourcing their rockets from Rocket Lab USA, who is also a newcomer to the field and has yet to conduct a test. Very interestingly, while other companies are preparing rovers for the second part of the challenge (that requires them to travel 500 m) Moon Express has these thrusters it hopes to deploy — so as to jump to another location.
Meanwhile, in case you are wondering about the amount of investor interest being received by the company — well, Moon Express isn’t exactly going to pack its bags and go home after the competition is over. The company is using the competition to develop the technology to go and prospect on the moon. Once the competition concludes, the company then hopes to use its technology to prospect and acquire Lunar resources.
As per Naveen Jain, co-founder and Chairman of Moon Express.
We know that there are trillions of dollars of precious resources on the Moon, and we can now seek to unlock those resources with exponential technologies for the benefit of all of humanity, enabling entrepreneurs to do what only superpowers have done before.
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