Washington: Moon Express, a California-based company, co-founded by Indian origin billionaire Naveen Jain, is teaming up with NASA to build robotic lander to mine the Moon, according to reports.
The company plans to send the first commercial robotic lander called ' MX-1' to the Moon in 2016.
Earlier in 2015, it became the first company to successfully test a prototype of a lunar lander at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
According to Naveen Jain, the success of this test and a series of others that will happen later this year will help the Moon Express to send its lander to the moon next year.
The company had also recently signed an agreement to take over Space Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral and the historic launchpad will be used for Moon Express's lander development and flight-test operations, he added.
Moon Express will conduct a completely free flight test of MX-1 with no tethering later this month. The lander will take off from the pad, go up and sideways, then land back at the launchpad.
The lander's first mission would be a one-way trip and won't travel back to the Earth.
Looking ahead 15 or 20 years, Jain said he envisions a day when the Moon would be used as a sort of way station enabling easier travel for exploration to other planets.
Jain is reportedly planning a second and third mission if the company's 2016 mission is successful.
(With Agency Inputs)