TAKEOFF

First Private Moon Mission Approved

A private company called Moon Express is set to provide the world’s first private mission to the moon after the U.S. government gave its approval Tuesday. The company, which seeks to fly commerical missions to the moon, also hopes to encourage exploration and mining with its commercial missions. Its first lunar landing is scheduled for late 2017. “This is not only a milestone, but really a threshold for the entire commercial space industry,” Bob Richards, Moon Express co-founder and CEO, told Space.com on Wednesday, commenting on the decision. The company submitted an application to the FAA on April 8, and it went through the State Department, Department of Defense, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Federal Communications Commission before finally getting approval.