The FAA on July 20 approved Moon Express’ lunar mission, which the company called the first time the federal government has given a private enterprise permission to travel beyond earth’s orbit and land on the moon.

Moon Express said it received the green light for pursuing its 2017 lunar mission following in-depth consultations with the FAA, White House, State Department, NASA and other federal agencies. The FAA, in a statement, said it formally made a favorable payload determination for the Moon Express MX-1E mission and determined that the launch of the payload does not jeopardize public health and safety, safety of property, United States national security or foreign policy related interests or international obligation of the U.S.

The FAA said as long as none of the information provided to the agency changes in a material manner and the FAA does not become aware of any issues the review did not consider that could affect the determination, the FAA considers this determination final. The FAA said if a launch operator applies to the agency for a license to launch a vehicle carrying the MX-1E payload, the favorable payload destination will be incorporated in its review of the license application.

Despite approving Moon Express’ mission, the FAA warned that not all non-traditional space missions may lend themselves to favorable payload determinations.  Future missions, the agency said, may require additional authority to be provided to the FAA to ensure conformity with the Outer Space Treaty. The FAA said suggested language for legislative relief and the relative merits and needs have been transmitted to Congress. In the meantime, the FAA will continue to work with industry to provide support for non-traditional missions on a case-by-case basis when the law permits.

MX-1E is a robotic lander spacecraft capable of transfer from earth orbit to the moon. It should make a soft landing on the lunar surface and perform post-landing relocations through propulsive “hops,” according to the FAA. Moon Express submitted its request to the FAA on April 8.

Moon Express is also competing for the $30 million Google [GOOGL] Lunar Xprize with MX-1E. The company in December received official verification of its launch contract with Rocket Lab as part of the contest. Only Moon Express and Space IL have verified launch contracts, a critical qualification for the prize.