ispace Receives Interim Payment on Lunar Regolith Transfer Contract from NASA

From L to R: Jumpei Nozaki, ispace Director & CFO; Takeshi Hakamada, ispace Founder & CEO; Casey Swails, NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Business Operations; and Julien-Alexandre Lamamy, managing director ispace EU. (Credit: ispace)

PARIS (ispace PR) — ispace, inc. (ispace) Founder and CEO Takeshi Hakamada met today with NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Business Operations, Casey Swails, during the International Astronautical Congress in Paris. ispace EUROPE S.A. (ispace EU) met its interim milestones on its contract to acquire regolith from the lunar surface to sell to the space agency, ispace announced.

The milestones triggered a payment on the contract and came after a NASA-led review of the company’s development and plans to transfer the lunar regolith to NASA. Successful retrieval and transfer of ownership of extracted material will be the first-ever commercial transaction of lunar regolith as well as the first-ever transaction for space resources to take place off-world. 

Under two contracts awarded to ispace and its subsidiary ispace EU, the actual sale of the regolith will occur once ispace and ispace EU acquire the lunar material on their missions, under their HAKUTO-R program, currently planned for launch as early as November 2022 and 2024. The payment is for achieving milestones in the second contract held by ispace EU.

“I am very pleased to receive the milestone payment representing progress in efforts to develop the cislunar economy,” said Takeshi Hakamada, Founder and CEO of ispace. “During both of our missions, we intend to fulfill the contracts to transfer regolith to NASA. This payment represents a concrete step in the process of realizing our vision of ‘Expand our Planet. Expand our Future.’”

“With this NASA contract, ispace EU is proud to participate in the Artemis program, exercise the Luxembourg law on the Exploration and Use of Space Resources, and advance the development of the lunar economy,” said Julien-Alexandre Lamamy, Managing Director of ispace EU.

ispace and ispace EU, leveraging its strategic global presence, was awarded two of the four contracts announced by NASA in December 2020. The first contract awarded to ispace involves the collection of regolith with its lander. The second contract, awarded to ispace EU, will use ispace’s rover to collect regolith during the company’s second mission.

The contracts marked NASA’s first planned commercial transaction for space resources. Since the awards of the contracts, the space economy has grown significantly with the expansion of the U.S.-led Artemis Accords, as well as investment by countries such as Luxembourg and Japan.

About ispace (https://ispace-inc.com/)

ispace, a global lunar resource development company with the vision, “Expand our Planet. Expand our Future.”, specializes in designing and building lunar landers and rovers. ispace aims to extend the sphere of human life into space and create a sustainable world by providing high-frequency, low-cost transportation services to the Moon. The company has offices in Japan, Luxembourg, and the United States, with about 200 employees worldwide. ispace is part of a team led by Draper, which was awarded a NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) Program contract to land on the far side of the Moon by 2025 (as of September 2022). Both ispace and ispace EU were awarded contracts to collect and transfer ownership of lunar regolith to NASA, and ispace EU was selected by the European Space Agency to be part of the Science Team for PROSPECT, a program which seeks to extract water on the Moon.

Established in 2010, ispace operated “HAKUTO” which was one of five finalist teams in the Google Lunar XPRIZE race. The company’s first mission as part of its HAKUTO-R lunar exploration program is currently planned for launch as early as November 2022 and is expected to launch from the United States on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. ispace has also launched a lunar data business concept to support new customers as a gateway to conduct business on the Moon.