Moon Express and NanoRacks have announced this week a mutual alliance that will see the two companies work together on supporting science and commercials payloads to the Moon and beyond.
The two privately funded commercial space ventures share similar goals in seeking to lower the cost of access to space and to create new opportunities for research, exploration and commercial missions in and beyond Earth orbit.
Last year, Moon Express became the first company in history to receive U.S. government authorisation for a commercial mission to the Moon and the company is already partnered with NASA to develop new lander technologies for a return mission to the lunar surface.
NanoRacks on the other hand, operates on the International Space Station (ISS) via a Space Act Agreement with NASA’s U.S. National Labs. NanoRacks is under contract with NASA to work on a comprehensive feasibility study to evaluate the conversion of rocket upper stages into habitats - a project known as Ixion. This innovative approach involves less risk than fabricating modules on the ground and subsequently launching them into orbit, while keeping costs at an affordable level. NanoRacks has launched over 580 payloads to the space station to date, including almost 200 satellites deployed from ISS.
“We are thrilled to partner with Moon Express to grow the commercial market and provide world-class customer service on the Moon and beyond,’ says NanoRacks founder and CEO Jeffrey Manber. “Our customers are excited about commercial lunar opportunities.”
“The primary goal of our alliance with NanoRacks is to ensure a great customer experience,” said Moon Express Founder & CEO, Bob Richards. “Our companies share a culture of customer focus, and together we will be able to provide end to end support from payload concept to mission operations.”
Under the agreement, NanoRacks will provide marketing, management and technical support to Moon Express customers and expedition partners, along with global payload and mission sales. Flights to the Moon are anticipated by Moon Express to begin in 2018.