Private-funded commercial space company Moon Express is the second company to be verified with a launch contract with XPrize Foundation. The company will be sending its MX-1E micro-lander to the lunar surface to gather data and take images of the Moon.
XPrize has verified launch contract that American company Moon Express announced last October. MoonEx is the second of 16 companies granted space missions and a guaranteed seat to participate in Google's $30M XPrize competition to land spacecrafts to the Earth's Moon.
The foundation states that it has reviewed and validated launch contracts between Rocket Lab and MoonEx. The agreement covers three Rocket Lab launches using a small launch vehicle known as Electron. Two of Rocket Lab's launches have already been scheduled in 2017.
XPrize Foundation Vice Chairman Bob Weiss states that they are proud to confirm and verify launch contracts with MoonEx. The space company will use Rocket Lab's launches to send its MX-1E micro-lander to the Moon.
MoonEx Chief Executive Officer Bob Richards adds that the company is thrilled to have its contracts in place with Rocket Lab as this allows them to deliver low-cost space missions to the Moon for commerce and for science. Meanwhile, an Israeli team known as SpaceIL had its contract tied up with the Falcon 9 launch by SpaceX to launch its lunar landers to the Moon. This contract was also verified by XPrize last October.
There are only 16 teams that remain in the XPrize Competition organized by Google and the remaining teams have only until the end of 2016 to submit their proposed launch contracts to continue with the said competition. Failure to submit will opt them out of the race to reach the moon. Companies are now creating partnerships in order for them to succeed with the competition. Astrobotic Technology has already made partnerships with Japanese team Hakuto and Chilean team AngelicvM to fly space its rockets to the Moon's surface.