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Moon Express Sets Sights On 2017 Launch

Goal Is To Be The First Private Sector Company To Leave Earth Orbit

Moon Express is targeting 2017 for its first launch to the Moon. The company's goal is to be the first private company ever to launch a spacecraft that leaves Earth Orbit, according to Moon Express founder Bob Richards.

Florida Today reports that Richards made a presentation to the National space Club Florida Committee last week. Moon Express plans to build and test small lunar landers in Central Florida at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and it is targeting 2017 for its first launch.

The current business plan calls for the MX-1E "micro-lander" to launch to the moon next year. If successful, the company would be well positioned to win the Google Lunar X-Prize ... a $20 million jackpot that will go to the first company to land a robotic lander on the moon and transmit pictures back to Earth.

The company's larger goal is to establish a commercial cargo service between the Earth and the Moon, and there are other long-term goals as well.

Richards said he's looking forward to becoming a neighbor of SpaceX and Blue Origin, which also will operate from Cape Canaveral. “I think we’re going to see a whole changing of the tide,” he said. “That tide is coming toward the Space Coast.”

(Image from file)

FMI: www.moonexpress.com

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