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FAA Green Lights Private Company's Moon-Shot

Artist conception on Moon Express spacecraft on the lunar surface. Photo: Moon Express
Artist conception on Moon Express spacecraft on the lunar surface. Photo: Moon Express

Cape Canaveral-based Moon Express is the first private space company to receive permission to head the moon.

The Federal Aviation Administration gave the Cape Canaveral based company the green light to send a spacecraft to the lunar surface.
Read the FAA's fact sheet on Moon Express

Moon Express wants to send a lunar lander to the surface where it will hop from place to place.

The company hopes to mine resources from the lunar surface, like water and helium, and eventually establish a lunar fuel station for future mission.

The private company stemmed from Google’s X-Prize, a program offering $30 million reward for the first company to make it back to the moon. Google offers additional rewards for other tasks like exploring the surface.

Moon express wants to start launches next year. The company announced plans to take over Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complexes 17 and 18.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the approval doesn't set a precedent yet. Any future payloads heading to the moon will need approval from the FAA before launch.

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program.

Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration.