2 In Aerospace Engineering

A Small Step for Commercial Space


Moon Express Lander by Steve Jurvetson

Today marks the first day a commercial space company is allowed to launch beyond Earth’s orbit!

Moon Express‘s journey hasn’t been a particularly easy one due to the nature of its mission. Although it is one of the companies competing for Google’s 30 million dollar Lunar X Prize competition (to be the first private lander on the Moon by 2017), itsΒ goals are more concerned about sustainability beyond the X Prize competition. Moon Express plans to use its lander to mine the Moon into the 2020s and with the recentΒ Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, it technically can take whatever it wants without the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) saying anything. This puts the US in a tricky place though, because the US is still responsible for any international agreements (notably the Outer Space Treaty) the private company breaks. However, the FAA is in charge of approving which satellites can launch. Moon Express’s workaround and offer of peace of mind for the US government was to go above and beyond in providing the information required for a launch approval and giving the US some oversight on its mission. This temporary fix to getting Moon Express the approval it needed may be laying the framework for regulations and a future for private companies wanting to venture beyond Earth’s grasp.

Although Moon Express has a ways to go, I look forward to its giant leap for the private space industry as it lands on lunar soil.

Happy Exploring!

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  • Reply
    October 10, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    I never heard anything about this. Interesting stuff. Some say that the moon is not appealing with regards to colonization, but if they’re mining it would a colony be inevitable? Or would it only be colonized by robots? Robots probably don’t qualify as colonizers but you know what I mean πŸ™‚
    Great to see any missions going back to the moon though. Who knows what fascinating things could be lying around up there just waiting to be discovered πŸ˜‰

    • Reply
      October 11, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      More of a pitstop than a colony. If you can mine the Moon for fuel and use that as a base, a trip to Mars becomes drastically cheaper!

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