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So far, Moon Express has been selected by Nasa as one of three private sector companies to work on commercial cargo transportation to the Moon, and previous year it became the first private company authorised by the United States government to land on the Moon.

Richards presented the spacecraft design in Washington on Wednesday. The second mission will utilize the MX-1E Scout Classic-it will carry a host of scientific equipment for placement at the south pole-a location that allows for solar-powered instruments and also for constant communications with the Earth.

The private race to the moon just kicked up a notch with Moon Express revealing in detail its plan to begin commercially harvesting moon rocks by 2020.

MX-1, a cylindered shaped robot with legs, is capable of delivering up to approximately 66 pounds of cargo to the moon.

The MX-5 would use five MX-1 PECO engine pods to support a large lander platform that could take as much as 150 kg to the lunar surface from LEO.

Two follow-on expeditions, announced on Wednesday, are focused on establishing the first permanent outpost at the moon's south pole by the end of the decade, including the return of the first non-government lunar samples to Earth.

An animation depicting the MX-1E lander touching down on the moon's surface.
      

Moon Express
An animation depicting the MX-1E lander touching down on the moon's surface. Moon Express

Last July, the company received the first USA government approval to send a mission to the moon.

Moon Express believes the return and sale of these lunar samples will justify the cost of the mission. The Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship (SPACE) Act of 2015 encourages commercial exploitation of resources in space, as long as they're not alive.

Google is proving a high prize of $20 million which is around Rs. 128 crores, for the initial team that is privately funded to facilitate a launch of a spacecraft on the moon; make it drives, hop of fly at least 500 metres (1640 feet) and transmit video and pictures back to the Earth.

The third mission Moon Express hopes to launch before 2020 is called Harvest Moon. SpaceIL, of Israel, has contracted SpaceX to launch its dishwasher-sized spacecraft in 2017 on a Falcon 9.

Moon Express also has plans for exploration beyond the lunar surface.

The first spacecraft which is named as MX-1E is programmed to be launched before the end of this year on a Rocket Lab Electron booster that launches from New Zealand. The Electron rocket, made by private spaceflight company Rocket Lab, is slated to carry Lunar Scout but has never yet reached orbit. The company expects to complete the first spacecraft in September.


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