Privately-owned U.S. firm plans to land spacecraft on Moon

Privately-owned U.S. firm plans to land spacecraft on Moon

A privately-owned U.S.-based firm has announced its plan to use robotic technology to launch a series of commercial missions to Earth’s only natural satellite - the Moon.

Cape Canaveral, Florida-based Moon Express CEO Bob Richards has confirmed that his firm is working on a fleet of low-cost robotic spacecraft that could be assembled like Legos to handle complex space missions.

The first spacecraft of the firm called MX-1E is scheduled to be launched before the end of this year using a Rocket Lab Electron booster.

Richards told reporters, “That's where my heart is — solar system exploration on a grand scale that democratizes and completely accelerates our evolution into the solar system through knowledge and discovery, not just a few expensive voyages sponsored by kings and governments, like in history.”

The firm hopes that its endeavor will clinch a $20 million prize from Google. However, CEO Richards said that the win wasn’t essential for him. The firm has already raised more than $45 million from private investors for the project.

Technology giant Google is offering a top prize of $20 million for the first team to land a spacecraft on the moon. The second prize has been set at $5 million. Competitors have until December 31 to launch their spaceships.