A mission to put the first commercial craft on the moon has blasted off from the United States. Vulcan, a United Launch Alliance (ULA) rocket carrying a robotic lunar lander, was launched on Monday. The mission is part of an accelerating space race among private companies and would be the first-ever lunar landing by a private company. It would also be the first US landing on the moon in more than half a century. It is set to land on the moon on February 23 where it is part of a mission to gather data about the lunar surface before planned future human missions.