Florida-based company Moon Express, which hopes to mine the moon someday, has received the full funding it needs to make its first lunar trip.

Moon Express is one of the teams that is vying for the $30 million race to the moon, the Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP).

Nine liquid-propellant Rutherford engines are behind the Electron. The rocket engines, the first to use 3D printing for the all core parts, use kerosene and liquid oxygen (LOX) for fuel.

The X Prize offers $20 million to the first privately-funded team that would land a spacecraft on the lunar surface, move the vehicle at least 1,640 feet on the moon and send high-resolution images back to Earth. The second team that manages to do this gets $5 million.

Moon Express is one of the frontrunners of the GLXP as it has already managed to secure permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to land on the surface of the moon becoming the first private company in the world to get permission to travel beyond our planet's orbit after months of negotiations with government officials.

"Up until now all commercial companies have been limited to operations in Earth's orbit, and only governments have sent missions to other worlds," the company said in a statement.





Moon Express is not just setting its eyes on the X Prize. It also plans to send more missions to the moon, which will include one that will collect lunar samples that will be brought back to Earth.

The team plans to gather Helium-3 from the moon, which can be used in future nuclear fusion reactors.

"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," said Moon Express CEO Bob Richards.

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