Commercial space flight organization Moon Express secures a total of 12.5 million dollars in funding from lead investor Minerva Capital Group.
This started with a 2.5 mil bridge round and is now heading towards a 20 mil series B financing round with 10 million of that contributed by Minerva. All proceeds are expected to go towards construction of their cape Canaveral facility, and development of spacecraft for commercial lunar flight.
Founder and CEO of Moon Express Bob Richards made the announcement at the World Innovation Network Global Summit in Chicago.
We are at the dawn of an exciting new era of lunar exploration and development,”
“We’re excited about the new U.S. space policy to return to the Moon in a sustainable way with commercial partners and we look forward to working with NASA and other space agencies in exploring Earth’s eighth continent.”
“Moon Express has a unique and well thought out economic model that we think is compelling,” said Jocelyn Cortez-Young, Minerva Managing Partner and Founder. “We support visionary entrepreneurs and companies pursuing transformative innovation toward a social good. Moon Express has great potential for social impact and economic return and we’re proud to be an investor.”
Moon Express partnered with NASA to develop new landing technologies as a part of their Lunar Catalyst program
They were the first commercial space organization to receive government authorization to conduct private operations on the moon.
Regular flights to the Moon by Moon Express are expected to commence by 2020 – the same year NASA begins construction of their Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway, and also when Japanese corporation iSpace plans to set forth on a similar mission.
Like most corporations in the expanding frontier of outer space they are focused on harvesting resources, particularly water ice. Hydrogen dioxide is vital to life support, whether that be for hydrating humans or providing nourishment to plants in a greenhouse.
Furthermore water can be split in to oxygen for more life support and hydrogen for fuel, giving it a well rounded edge that is extremely useful to space stations, satellites and craft way up there in the great frontier.
Their first vessel: the MX-1 Scout Class Explorer is meant to deploy from low earth orbit and move towards the moon or cislunar space. Testing initial flight systems in a realistic environment as well as demonstrating their ability to navigate around space debris and successfully land on the moon should comprise some challenges moving forward.