Moon Express, the first private company allowed to go to the Moon, is now fully funded for their trip. Naveen Jain, the founder and Chairman of the company, met with Frank Gruber at Innovate! and Celebrate 2016 to discuss lunar exploration and innovation.
Their technological needs have yet to be met, but the company has raised $45 million total from investors such as the Founders Fund, Collaborative Fund, and Social Capital. These investment funds will be utilized for development and testing of the technology, company operations expenses, and launch costs.
Moon Express tweeted that it will be using Launch Complexes 17 and 18 at Cape Canaveral, as many crafts have launched from there in the past; its actual rockets will be collaboratively built with Rocket Labs, though the company has not yet launched its electron rocket.
Though this exploration is part of the Google Lunar X-Prize competition, the founder and co-founder of the company say that its motives are educational, with a purpose to innovate, not to win.
CEO and co-founder Bob Richards said,”Our goal is to expand Earth’s social and economic sphere to the Moon, our largely unexplored eighth continent, and enable a new era of low-cost lunar exploration and development for students, scientists, space agencies and commercial interests.”
To win the competition, Moon Express must soft-land on the Moon, travel 500 meters on the Moon’s surface, and send videos back to Earth by the end of 2017.