China’s iSpace Suffers Third Consecutive Failure of Hyperbola-1 Rocket

Friday the 13th was an unlucky day for Chinese launch provider iSpace, which saw its Hyperbola-1 rocket suffer its third straight launch failure.

The Xinhua news agency reported the Hyperbola-1 rocket suffered “abnormal performance” after lifting off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 3:09 p.m. Beijing time (3:09 a.m. EDT). The cause of the failure is under investigation, the agency said.

The  Jilin-1 Mofang-01A Earth observation satellite was lost in the failure. It was a replacement for a satellite lost when a Hyperbola 1 booster failed in August 2021. The rocket also failed to orbit unidentified payloads in February 2021.

The four-stage, solid-fuel booster is now one for four in launches since a successful maiden flight in July 2019 for which iSpace became the first private Chinese company to orbit a satellite.

ispace & Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance to Realize First-Ever Case of Commercial Lunar Exploration Insurance

HAKUTO-R near the moon. (Credit: ispace)

MSI’s “Lunar Insurance Plan” will cover ispace’s Mission 1 from launch to landing

TOKYO, April 21, 2022 (ispace PR) – Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd. (“MSI”), a subsidiary of MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings, Inc.  based in Tokyo, Japan, and lunar exploration company, ispace, inc. (“ispace”), announced today that the two companies have reached an agreement for ispace to utilize MSI’s new lunar insurance to cover risks arising in the lunar business named the “Lunar Insurance Plan”. The companies recently signed the agreement in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which states the intention to finalize terms during 2022, in the months leading up to ispace’s first mission, Mission 1 (M1), which is currently planned to launch around Q4 2022* at the earliest.

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Key Updates for HAKUTO-R Announced as Mission 1 Lander Prepares to Enter Final Stage of Integration

A fuel tank being installed into the lander. (Credit: ispace)

M1 and M2 currently planned for launch as early as Q4 2022* and 2024*, respectively, and an early look at a new micro rover planned for first deployment on M2, among other updates

TOKYO – January 25, 2022 – Today, ispace, inc. (ispace), a lunar exploration company with its headquarters in Japan and regional offices in the United States and Europe, shared key developments related to the company’s HAKUTO-R program, which consists of its planned first and second lunar missions, Mission 1 (M1) and Mission 2 (M2).

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Plus Ultra and ispace Aim to Deploy Communications and Navigation Infrastructure in Lunar Orbit

LUXEMBOURG, 20 January 2022 (ispace PR) – Plus Ultra Space Outposts (Plus Ultra), a European company developing a lunar satellite constellation, and ispace Europe (ispace EU), the European branch of ispace, inc., have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on joint lunar missions. The MoU includes the transport and deployment of satellites into lunar orbit, as early as 2024, to provide communications and navigations services.

Plus Ultra and ispace intend to combine their complementary capabilities to further explore the possibilities of commercial space resources on the Moon and in lunar orbit. Under the terms of the MoU, ispace would transport Plus Ultra’s lunar communication satellites as customer payloads to the Moon. In return, Plus Ultra would provide lunar communications and navigation services to ispace, among other potential collaborations.

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ispace Europe, ArianeGroup and ESA to Assess Commercial Partnership for Lunar Transportation Services

LUXEMBOURG, December 10 (ispace PR) – ispace Europe (ispace EU), the European subsidiary of ispace, inc., and ArianeGroup have been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to participate in a pilot phase aiming to establish commercial partnerships in Europe for lunar transportation and exploration. ESA Director General, Josef Aschbacher, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Wednesday, November 24, with ispace EU and ArianeGroup. This marks the official start of the pilot phase.

During this phase, the ispace EU-ArianeGroup partnership will undertake business, technical and socio-economic evaluations of their lunar transportation service, which will ultimately be presented to an ESA evaluation panel; the companies are seeking a decision from ESA by Summer 2022. If endorsed by the Panel and further confirmed by ESA Member States, ispace EU and ArianeGroup could become a vetted candidate to transport ESA payloads to the Moon.

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Airbus, MBRSC Sign Agreement for Emirates Lunar Mission

Rashid lunar rover (Credit: Wikieditsfxj)

Airbus Defence and Space and Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre have signed an agreement to work together on the Emirates Lunar Mission to operate the Rashid rover on the moon next year. The Khaleej Times reports:

The MBRSC recently signed an agreement with Airbus Defence and Space, a division of Airbus responsible for defence and aerospace products and services, for collaboration on the country’s Mission to Moon for ‘in-situ’ tests.

These tests are conducted on or in the soil at site on the moon’s surface by means of the material adhesive demonstration (MAD) experiment.

The MoU was signed by Salem AlMarri, deputy director-general, MBRSC, and Andreas Lindenthal, head of business operations and products, Airbus Space Systems, on the sidelines of the International Astronautical Congress, the world’s premier space event, being held at the World Trade Centre in Dubai.

The Rashid rover is set to be carried to the lunar surface by ispace’s HAKUTO-R lander in 2022.

Airbus, Air Liquide and ispace Europe Launch EURO2MOON, a Non-profit Platform to Explore Future Uses of Lunar Resources

The European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) announces its intention to join this organization as the first non-founding member

DUBAI, UAE, 26 October 2021 (ispace PR) – In the context of increased momentum around space exploration, Airbus Defense & Space, Air Liquide and ispace Europe have announced the joint creation of EURO2MOON.

Bringing in complementary expertise from public and private partners, EURO2MOON will focus on topics related to the exploration of the lunar surface and the utilization of its resources in a commercial and sustainable way.

The objective is to create a platform of exchange in order to build a common vision and promote it among the European industrial and institutional ecosystems, including recommendations on global roadmaps, demonstration concepts and commercial programs. Topics to be addressed will include long duration transport, life support, energy needs for scientific and commercial applications.

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Airbus Ventures Invests in ispace’s Series C Extension Round

TOKYO, October 25, 2021 (ispace PR) – Today, ispace, inc. (ispace) announced that it raised additional financing from Airbus Ventures, as part of an extension of the lunar exploration company’s Series C investment round, following its initial Series C funding announced on August 4, 2021, and its Series C extension round funding announced on October 20th.

With this latest investment, ispace’s total amount raised since seed investment is approximately $200 million (USD).[i] The funds from ispace’s Series C investment round are planned to be applied toward ispace’s second lunar mission, which is planned to launch in 2023[ii], as well as to support the development of its Series 2 lunar lander for its third mission, which is currently planned to launch in 2024[iii]. The Series 2 lander for the third mission is currently being developed in the United States.

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Israel, UAE Agree to Collaborate on Lunar, Earth Observation & Satellite Missions

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will collaborate on a mission to the moon, analyze data from an Israeli-French Earth observation satellite, and launch a joint education satellite under a landmark agreement signed last week to cooperate on a range of space projects, the Israel Space Agency (ISA) announced.

The two nations will collaborate on Genesis 2, an $100 million Israeli mission to launch an orbiter to the moon and deploy landers at two different locations on the lunar surface. The mission, which is to be half funded with foreign contributions, is scheduled to launch in 2024.

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ispace to Collaborate on Lunar Resources Extraction Rover with Haptic Robotic Arm and Mixed Reality (XR) Functions

Memorandum of Understanding signed with Canadian company Stardust and Australia’s University of Technology Sydney and EXPLOR Space Technologies

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (ispace PR) – Today, ispace, inc. (ispace), ispace Europe SA (ispace Europe), Stardust Technologies Inc. (Stardust), University of Technology Sydney (UTS), and EXPLOR Space Technologies (EXPLOR) collectively signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on a mining rover with a multipurpose robotics arm utilizing virtual reality, haptic feedback in the framework of in situ resource utilization (ISRU) activities on the Moon.

Under the proposed collaboration, the parties involved plan to engage in the form of one or more of the following:

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ispace Unveils Next Generation Lunar Lander for its 3rd Lunar Mission Targeting 2024 Launch

ispace’s Series 2 lunar lander. (Credit: ispace)

The lander, larger in size and payload design capacity, is planned to be designed and manufactured in the US

Colorado Springs, Colo. (ispace PR) – Today, ispace, inc. (ispace) unveiled its next generation lunar lander, Series 2, which the company plans to first use for its third lunar mission (Mission 3), as well as subsequent future missions. Standing at approximately 9 ft tall and 14 ft wide (approx. 2.7 m tall by 4.2 m wide), including its legs, it is larger in both size and customer payload design capacity than ispace’s first-generation lander model, Series 1, which the company is developing for its first and second missions.

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iSpace Fails to Orbit Satellite for Second Time in 2021

The Chinese commercial launch provider iSpace failed to orbit a satellite with its Hyperbola-1 rocket for the second time in a row on Tuesday.

iSpace, which is also known as the Interstellar Glory Space Technology, said in a press release that the four-stage rocket worked as planned after liftoff from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. However, the fairing failed to separate, so the unidentified satellite could not enter its planned 500 km high sun synchronous orbit.

“This launch further verified the correctness of the overall plan of the Hyperbola-1 rocket, obtained effective flight data, and accumulated valuable experience and lessons,” the company said.

It was the second failure in three launch attempts for the commercial company. On Feb. 1, a Hyperbola-1 rocket carrying multiple satellites veered off course early during its flight. The company attributed the failure to a falling piece of foam.

iSpace made history in July 2019 when its Hyperbola-1 rocket placed several payloads into space. It was the first successful launch by a private Chinese company.


ispace Raises $46 Million in Series C Funding with New Funds Going Toward Mission 2 & 3

HAKUTO-R lander on the moon. (Credit: ispace)

TOKYO, August 4, 2021 (ispace PR) – Today, ispace, inc. (ispace) announced that it contracted to fund approximately $46 million (USD)[i] from seven investors, including Incubate Fund as the lead investor, for its Series C investment round. This brings ispace’s cumulative total funding to approximately $195.5 million (USD)[ii] including past Series B, Series A and seed investment, as well as its existing and new bank loan financing announced in June 2021.

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Israel’s Helios Signs Agreement with iSpace to Produce Oxygen on the Moon

Helios’ oxygen production solution, supported by the Israel Space Agency, could reduce the number of launches from Earth and allow for a long-term human presence in deep space. (Credit: Helios)

TEL AVIV (Israel Space Agency PR) — The Israeli company Helios, which develops technology for extracting oxygen from the lunar soil, signed the first Israeli-Japanese agreement for technological cooperation on July 19. Helios, with the support of the Israel Space Agency in the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, will be integrated into the mission to the moon of the Japanese company ispace. As part of the mission, the Israeli company will conduct a demonstration of technology for extracting oxygen and metal from the lunar regolith.

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