Moon Express' Grand Plan
On July 12, 2017, Moon Express unveiled an exploration architecture
FIRST: MX-1 and Destination Moon
An artist's impression showing the single-stage MX-1E spacecraft descending toward the lunar surface carrying a suite of science and exploration instruments. The MX-1E can deliver up to 66 lbs. (30 kilograms) to the lunar surface, Moon Express representatives said.
NEXT: The MX-1E Has Landed
The MX-1E Has Landed
The MX-1E lander sits on the lunar surface in this artist's illustration. Moon Express plans to the launch the MX-1E, which uses eco-friendly fuels, toward the moon later this year.
NEXT: MX-2 Brings Double Capacity
MX-2: Double the Size
The MX-2 doubles the capability of the MX-1 in Earth-moon space and brings the inner solar system within reach, Moon Express representatives said.
NEXT: MX-5 on the Moon
MX-5 on the Moon
Moon Express' MX-5 craft will be able to deliver 330 lbs. (150 kilograms) to lunar orbit from low Earth orbit, with a range of configurations to support lunar landing and Earth-moon operations. The vehicle can also be outfitted with MX-1 or MX-2 staged systems that can bring the entire solar system within reach, Moon Express representatives said.
NEXT: The Beefy MX-9
The Beefy MX-9
Artist's illustration of Moon Express' nine-engine MX-9 spacecraft, which will be capable of delivering 1,100 lbs. (500 kilograms) to the lunar surface from geostationary transfer orbit. Like the MX-5, the MX-9 can be outfitted with MX-1 or MX-2 staged systems, Moon Express representatives said.
NEXT: Collecting Lunar Samples
Collecting Lunar Samples
The MX-9 spacecraft collects lunar samples for return to Earth in this screenshot from a Moon Express animation.
NEXT: MX-9 Transfers Samples
MX-9 Transfers Samples
The MX-9 spacecraft transfers lunar samples to its onboard ascent vehicle in this screenshot from a Moon Express animation.
NEXT: The MX-9 Ascending
The MX-9 Ascending
Artist's impression of the MX-9 return vehicle launching from the moon toward Earth carrying lunar samples.
NEXT: Jettisoning the Return Capsule
Jettisoning the Return Capsule
The MX-9's ascent vehicle jettisons its return capsule, which is carrying samples collecting on the lunar surface.
NEXT: Coming to Earth
Coming to Earth
The MX-9's return capsule heads toward Earth. Moon Express' planned architecture could make sample-return missions such as the one depicted in this animation cheaper and more accessible to a variety of customers, company representatives said.