Thursday, December 10, 2015

Moon Express Set for 2017 Mission in Pursuit of the Google Lunar XPRIZE

An artist illustration of the Moon Express mission. Credit: Moon Express

Moon Express, Inc. has received official verification of their launch contract from XPRIZE as part of the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, a global competition for privately funded teams to land an unmanned spacecraft on the surface of the moon by December 31, 2017. Moon Express will use a Rocket Lab Electron rocket combined with the company’s “MX-1E” micro-lander as part of a 2017 mission.

“We are extremely proud to officially confirm receipt and verification of Moon Express’s launch contract,” said Bob Weiss, vice chairman and president of XPRIZE. "Having multiple teams attempting actual missions to the moon is a hallmark of a genuine competition. Verified launch contracts are the 'bona fides' that teams need to demonstrate that they are in it to win it. Moon Express' accomplishment has brought XPRIZE closer to the moon."

"We applaud Google and XPRIZE for setting up such a visionary competition, and we’ve got our eyes on the prize,” said Moon Express co-founder and CEO Bob Richards. "Our long-term goal is to unlock lunar resources for the benefit of humanity, and we are thrilled to have our contract in place with Rocket Lab allowing us to provide low-cost missions to the moon for science and commerce."

Moon Express is contracted with Rocket Lab USA, a Los Angeles based company founded in 2007, for three lunar missions using the MX-1E lunar lander on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket, from either New Zealand or the United States.

Moon Express Co-Founder and Chairman Naveen Jain added: "Moon Express is building disruptive technologies that will forever change the cost of access to space, including the asteroids and even the moons of Mars. We are now taking advantage of exponential technology like 3D printing and inexpensive sensors to collapse the capital needed to access the moon. Coupling these technological advancements with today's news about our Rocket Lab launch contract is a huge step forward for us in opening whole new markets for space exploration."

Moon Express is one of two Google Lunar XPRIZE teams with verified launch contracts for 2017. The remaining 14 teams have until December 31, 2016 for their launch arrangements to be verified by XPRIZE in order to proceed in the competition.

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