The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) congratulates Moon Express, Inc., on its U.S. government authorization for a planned robotic mission to the Moon in 2017. This is the first time that a private enterprise has been licensed by the U.S. Government to venture to the lunar surface.

Moon Express first filed the application with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on April 8, 2016. The company then consulted extensively with the FAA, White House, State Department, NASA and other federal agencies before being granted the landmark license. The formal approval sets a precedent for the private sector to engage in peaceful space exploration in accordance with U.S. national obligations of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.

Empowered by this government authorization, Moon Express will now be able to continue to make progress towards its ambitious goal of unlocking the resources of the Moon. As Moon Express CEO Bob Richards notes, “We are now free to set sail as explorers to Earth’s eighth continent, the Moon, seeking new knowledge and resources to expand Earth’s economic sphere for the benefit of all humanity.”

CSF President Eric Stallmer agrees. “We applaud the government for its decision on this critical mission that will make possible humanity’s development of space resources. I am thrilled for CSF member, Moon Express, and anxiously await for this unprecedented milestone in space exploration.”

Moon Express is a privately funded space company co-founded in 2010 by space visionary Dr. Bob Richard, billionaire entrepreneur Naveen Jain, and technology guru Dr. Barney Pell. The organization aims to explore and develop lunar resources for the benefit of humanity. It partnered with NASA in 2014 under the Lunar CATALYST program. In October 2015, Moon Express announced a launch contract with Rocket Lab USA for 3 launches to the Moon beginning in 2017. In 2016, Moon Express announced an agreement with the US Air Force to utilize Cape Canaveral Launch Complexes 17 and 18 for the development of its spacecraft.