Private company says it is fully funded for mission to the Moon

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An artist’s concept of Moon Express’ MX-1 lander on the surface of the Moon. (credit: Moon Express) Any organization wishing to accomplish a major spaceflight goal must address two basic sets of problems—rocket science and political science. And while the technical challenges of spaceflight are considerable, it’s arguable that political science remains the greater of these two hurdles. Building spacecraft and rockets requires lots of money, after all, and due to international law they can’t just be launched from anywhere to anywhere. So it is no small achievement for the private, US-based Moon Express to have conquered the political science part of sending a rover to the Moon. Last August, after a lengthy regulatory process, the company received permission from the US government to send a commercial mission beyond low Earth orbit. And on Friday, the company announced that it has successfully raised an additional $20 million, meaning it has full funding for its maiden lunar mission. “Now it’s just about the rocket science stuff,” said company co-founder and Chief Executive Bob Richards. That, he realizes, remains a formidable challenge. Moon Express is one of five entrants in the Google Lunar X Prize competition to finalize a launch contract. Each of the teams is competing to become the first to send a rover to the lunar surface by the end of this year, have it travel 500 meters, and transmit high-definition imagery back to Earth. First prize is $20 million. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Private company says it is fully funded for mission to the Moon

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