Ordinary people could get the chance to spend their holidays on the Moon within 10 years due to the attempt of a company that wants to specialize in lunar travel.
WASHINGTON, United States – The founder of Moon Express, Naveen Jain, said this week that the firm was the first non-governmental entity to be given the green light to land on the Moon by the U.S. government.
The company is also planning to conduct a survey on the surface of the Moon in 2017 to find the best spots for mining minerals and other gases.
The plan of the 17-day-trip in orbit for ordinary people will start from being launched by the Russian rocket, and will drop by the International Space Station before flying to the Moon.
The cost of the Moon travel scheduled by 2026 is going to be 10,000 U.S. dollars, according to Jain.
American privately held company
Moon Express (MoonEx), is an American privately held early stage company formed by a group of Silicon Valley and space entrepreneurs, with the goal of winning the Google Lunar X Prize, and ultimately mining the Moon for natural resources of economic value.
In August 2010, Naveen Jain, Barney Pell and Robert D. Richards, co-founded Moon Express, a Mountain View, California-based company that plans to offer commercial lunar robotic transportation and data services with a long-term goal of mining the Moon for resources, including elements that are rare on Earth, including niobium, yttrium and dysprosium.
On June 30, 2011, the company held its first successful test flight of a prototype lunar lander system called the Lander Test Vehicle (LTV) that was developed in partnership with NASA.
On September 11, 2011, Moon Express announced that it had set up a robotics lab for a lunar probe named the “Moon Express Robotics Lab for INnovation” (MERLIN) and hired several engineering students who had successfully competed at the FIRST Robotics Competition.
In mid-2012, Moon Express announced that it will work with International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) to put a shoebox-sized astronomical telescope on the Moon.
Additional details were released in July 2013, including that there would be two telescopes: a 2 meters (6 ft 7 in) radio telescope as well as an optical telescope. The preferred location is 5 kilometers (3.1 mi)-high Malapert crater, with plans to land the mission no earlier than 2018.
By 2012, MoonEx had 20 employees. In December 2012, MoonEx acquired one of the other Google Lunar X-Prize teams, Rocket City Space Pioneers, from Dynetics for an undisclosed sum. The new agreement makes Tim Pickens, the former lead of the RCSP team, the Chief Propulsion Engineer for MoonEx.
In September 2013, MoonEx added Paul Spudis as Chief Scientist and Jack Burns as Science Advisory Board Chair.
In October and November, 2013, Moon Express successfully conducted several free flight tests of its flight software utilizing the NASA Mighty Eagle lander test vehicle, under a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement with the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.
In December 2013, MoonEx unveiled the MX-1 lunar lander, a toroidal robotic lander that uses high-test hydrogen peroxide as its rocket propellant to support vertical landing on the lunar surface.
On April 30, 2014 NASA announced that Moon Express Inc. was one of the three companies selected for the Lunar CATALYST initiative.
The Moon Express “MX-1” spacecraft is designed to be launched as a secondary payload and to fly to the Moon from GEO.
In December 2014, Moon Express successfully conducted flight tests of its “MTV-1X” lander test vehicle at the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility, becoming the first private company (and GLXP team) to demonstrate a commercial lunar lander.
In October 2015, Moon Express announced a launch contract with Rocket Lab to launch three Moon Express robotic spacecraft to land on the Moon, with two launches manifested in 2017, utilizing an Electron launch vehicle.
In June 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration approved plans for a mission to deliver a commercial package to the moon in late 2017.