A private company you probably haven’t heard of just announced that it has the money it needs to shoot for the moon, literally.
“We now have all the resources in place to shoot for the moon,” Moon Express CEO Bob Richards said in a statement.
In total, the company has raised more than $45 million in private funding for its moonshot.
The Google Lunar X Prize was designed to help support the relatively nascent private industry by giving out its multimillion dollar prize to the first private organization to land a robotic craft on the moon that can move 500 meters and beam back video and photos from the lunar surface.
At the moment, four competitors including Moon Express have confirmed rides on rockets bound for the moon before the end of 2017.
Moon Express has booked a ride on the private company Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket, which has yet to launch on its first test flight. (Electron shouldmake its maiden voyage this year if all goes according to plan.)
Moon Express hit a big milestone in 2016 when it became the first company to get approval from the U.S. government to fly a spacecraft to the moon’s surface.
This is a big step because, until now, only nations have aimed for the moon and successfully landed there.
At the moment, Moon Express is planning to launch five flights aboard the Electron rocket.