Space startup Moon Express has signed a contract with Rocket Lab to help carry out three lunar missions starting in 2017. Described as the first private contract between two companies to carry out a lunar landing [gizmag.com], the agreement will see Rocket Lab provide launch services using its Electron rocket system for the Moon Express MX-1 lunar lander as part of Moon Express's attempt win the Google Lunar Xprize.
The contract stipulates that Rocket Lab will provide services for two launches of the MX-1 lander in 2017 and a third at a date yet to be determined. These will be conducted from either Rocket Lab's New Zealand facilities or an American launch site. The Moon Express MX-1 lander is a scalable 600 kg (1,320 lb) spacecraft that can be sent to the Moon either directly or using low-energy trajectories. Its purpose is not only to conduct scientific missions, but also to deliver commercial payloads to the lunar surface at lower costs.
Life imitates art. [wikipedia.org]