August 8, 2016
Space-exploration start-up Moon Express Inc. overcame another hurdle to send an unmanned, scientific spacecraft to the surface of the moon in 2017. The Northern California-based company received regulatory authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct a mission beyond Earth orbit.
The approval comes after six years of trying, and approximately $30 million in investments. The FAA stopped short of approving the craft, a 20-pound rover. Still, analysts point out that breaking through the bureaucracy could help other private space mission companies.
The next step for Moon Express is to obtain a formal launch license and more cash. Analysts point out that the company’s ultimate goal is to mine and retrieve minerals from the moon, and to produce power sources for future deep-space missions.
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