This step will indicate how the government plans to protect companies from violating international space treaties.
For the first time, the US government is preparing to endorse a private commercial space mission outside the orbit of the earth. This was reported in the Wall Street Journal.
The expected decision will set a precedent for how the US government will enforce the execution of international space contracts by private enterprises, the magazine said Sunday evening.
After the principles have been established, the space startup Lunar Express will begin a mission to disembark a 20-pound (nine kilogram) parcel with scientific equipment, including a telescope, to the moon in about the second half of 2017.
“We’ll become regular trackers of necessity,” because until now, “only governments took over space flight missions outside Earth orbit,” said Bob Richards, CEO and founder of Lunar Express, to the magazine. Official authorization will pave the way for a number of other non-commercial space enterprises.
These include mine asteroid plans, tracking space debris, and the billionaire Elon Musk plan for an unmanned flight to Mars in 2018.
Lunar Express is one of 16 companies competing for the Google Lunar X prize, which offers 20 million dollars (18 million euros) for the first team to land a rover on the moon, and send back high-definition video and images.