I was really excited to hear that Moon Express gained regulatory approval (in the US, at least) for spaceflight. The news was also surprising, as I had previously assumed that one of the larger, better funded frontier tech ventures (Blue Origin, SpaceX etc.) had already secured or would be the first to secure such an approval.
Being the first business to achieve regulatory approval in a disruptive category can be extremely hard, frustrating work (as our ex-portfolio company Oxitec can attest). But it is also valuable, as the trail blazed will improve time to market for those that follow, contributing to the growth of the sector. In any case, this is fantastic news for fans of space exploration and the tech community, and Moon Express deserve recognition for taking the first small step.
Jain and Richards are not alone in their mission to travel beyond earth’s orbit... but as of today, they are leading the only commercial company to ever receive government approval to land on the surface of the moon. That’s because, in part, until Moon Express pushed for it there was no set process for a commercial company to attain regulatory approval to travel beyond earth’s orbit, much less land on the moon. In fact, there wasn’t even a regulatory agency with jurisdiction over commercial space activities. But with an ambitious goal of landing on the moon in 2017, Jain and his team couldn’t wait for pending legislation the U.S. government is currently considering to go through.