Moon Express, a privately funded commercial space company hoping to unlock the potential value in lunar resources is to continue flight tests at Kennedy Space Center.
The company is planning to test its newest lunar lander, the “MTV-1A” vehicle later this month.
The new vehicle is an advanced version of the MTV-1X lander test vehicle that successfully completed a series of initial flights in December, earning the company a $1m award from the Google Lunar XPRIZE.
The MTV-1A vehicle utilizes flight software and a number of flight hardware components that will further demonstrate core features of the vehicle’s innovative propulsion and avionics systems, paving the way for the company’s goal of developing the world’s first private spacecraft capable of landing on the Moon.
On December 15th, 2014, NASA announced Moon Express as the first commercial user of Kennedy’s SLF for vehicle flight-testing, citing it as a cornerstone moment in the transformation of the center to becoming a multi-user spaceport.
Moon Express is one of NASA’s three private sector partners competitively selected under its Lunar CATALYST program designed to spur commercial cargo transportation capabilities to the surface of the Moon.
“We congratulate Moon Express on the successful flight tests of their innovative lunar lander test vehicle,” said Jason Adam, NASA’s Moon Express Partner Manager under Lunar CATALYST.
Later this year Moon Express will expand its lunar lander development and test flight operations to Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 36 through an agreement with Space Florida, announced earlier this year. The company seeks to become the first private company to reach the Moon with an inaugural mission in late 2016.