Rocket Lab to shoot for the Moon


Kiwi company Rocket Lab will soon shoot for the Moon, literally.

The company today announced it had signed a contract with Moon Express to launch three robotic spacecraft to the Moon starting in 2017.

The deal will see Rocket Lab use its Electron rocket system to launch Moon Expresses' MX-1 lunar lander spacecraft, which a capable of reaching the lunar surface from Earth orbit on direct of low-energy trajectories.

"Rocket Lab is pleased to begin working with Moon Express to launch its spacecraft and to provide support to such an ambitious mission. Moon Express has used advanced orbital mechanics to enable this mission from low-Earth orbit,” said Rocket Lab's chief executive Peter Beck.

The deal  was announced at the Space Technology & Investment Forum in San Francisco.

"Our goal is to blaze a trail to the Moon to unlock its mysteries and resources so we can improve life on Earth," Moon Express co-founder and chief executive Bob Richards said.

Moon Express, a privately funded commercial space company, said it was taking advantage of technology such as 3D-printing and inexpensive sensors to reduce the cost of space exploration.

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