Moon Express to launch 2017
Steve’s breakdown: Moon Express is going to the moon next year. What are they looking for? Helium 3. But what do they need? A communications plan. Social media and PR are what I’d pitch.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: We just made history as the first private space company to submit a payload application to the FAA for a space mission to the moon in 2017. Up until now, only government missions have ever ventured to the moon and beyond Earth destinations. This is an interim arrangement allowing us to execute our business plan under U.S. law and the Outer Space Treaty.
In December, the company won the launch contract from Google Lunar XPRIZE to land an unmanned aircraft on the moon, travel across its surface and sends high-definition images and video back to earth by 2017. We’re planning three missions using our company’s robotic MX-1E lunar lander on the Rocket Lab USA’s Electron rocket, from either New Zealand or the U.S. During those missions we will explore for minerals and rare elements.
Our ultimate goal is to be the first private company to unlock the vast hidden resources on the moon—everything from magnesium to platinum and helium-3—and develop a space colony there. These valuable minerals can be used to sustain the world’s booming population. For example, helium-3 is highly sought for nuclear fusion, and though the technology is still in its infancy, the element could serve to power the Earth.
The moon can also serve as a fuel depot station for interplanetary space exploration in the future. It has massive amounts of ice (H2O) that can be used for rocket fuel.
CNBC: How do you plan to beat out competitors not only from the United States but also from China and Russia?
There are no private company competitors in my view. China and Russia want to mine the moon, but I believe entrepreneurs always win against government initiatives. That’s because they are nimble and better able to create commercial enterprises able to succeed in the long term.