Aug 23, 2019

These three companies are all aiming to land the first private spacecraft on the Moon in two years

Posted by in categories: government, robotics/AI, space travel

The Moon is a hot destination right now — especially for NASA, which wants to send people back to the lunar surface, but also for the private space industry. The most ambitious private lunar exploits are still many years off, but already, three companies claim they’ll be putting small robotic landers on the Moon in the next two years, amping up a small space race.

So far, no private entity has landed something successfully on the Moon. Only three government superpowers — the United States, China, and Russia — have ever been able to gently touch down vehicles on the lunar surface, and the Indian government may become the fourth in September. An Israeli nonprofit, SpaceIL, attempted to land the first private spacecraft on the Moon in April, but an early engine shutdown caused the vehicle to crash into the lunar surface instead. That means the door is still open for one of these three companies to make the first private lunar landing.

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