- Parabolic Arc
- November 29, 2023
ispace Aims to Launch Lunar Lander Next Month
TOKYO, October 12, 2022 (ispace PR) — ispace, inc. (ispace), a global lunar exploration company with its headquarters in Japan and regional offices in the United States and Europe, announced today that it currently plans to launch its Mission1 (M1) lunar lander, part of the HAKUTO-R program, in a target window of November 9 – 15, 2022 at the earliest.
The launch is set to occur on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla. Upon its deployment from the rocket, the M1 lander will then carry multiple commercial and government payloads including two rovers to the surface of the Moon.
“When we participated in the Google Lunar XPRIZE we had about 20 employees, but now we’ve grown to more than 200 in Japan, the United States and Europe, each working every day with the ispace vision to achieve success. We are focused on each of our missions, but now that the launch window has been set for M1 we are ready for the challenge along with our HAKUTO-R partners,” said Takeshi Hakamada, Founder, Representative Director, and CEO of ispace. “For me this is a milestone on the road to realizing our vision, but I am already proud of our results. I look forward to watching the launch alongside all of our employees and those who have supported us.”
In addition to the launch window announcement, ispace released the following updates:
- As of September 2022, the final functional testing of the flight model at the IABG mbH Space Centre in Germany has been completed. The lander is now being prepared for transport to the launch site in Florida.
- In August 2022, ispace welcomed its 200th employee. The total number of employees across its three offices in Japan, Luxembourg, and the United States now exceeds 200.
- After launch, M1 will be operated from the HAKUTO-R Mission Control Center (MCC) located in Tokyo’s central business district, Nihonbashi. The MCC will monitor the lander’s attitude, temperature, and other conditions, send commands and data to the lander, and receive images and video data during transit to the Moon as well as from the lunar surface.
- M1 will utilize a ground station network of the European Space Agency (ESA). The ESA’s Tracking Station Network (ESTRACK) is operated from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany. M1 will use five of the ESTRACK network’s antennas across three continents, located in Kourou (French Guiana), New Norcia (Western Australia), Cebreros (Spain), Malargüe (Argentina) and Goonhilly (UK).
Future Mission Updates
Mission 2 planning is currently under way. Specific details of M2 payloads will be released at a later date.
In July 2022, NASA awarded Team Draper, which includes ispace subsidiary, ispace technologies U.S., inc. (ispace US), $73 million to deliver payloads including two communication relay satellites to lunar orbit as well as a suite of scientific experiments to the lunar surface. In addition to the NASA CLPS award, ispace US expects to carry additional commercial payloads on M3 to supplement the total award. ispace is in active negotiations to fill M3 orders and beyond.
About ispace, inc. (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 more than 200 employees worldwide. ispace technologies U.S., inc. 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 EUROPE S.A. (ispace EU) were awarded contracts to collect and transfer ownership of lunar regolith to NASA, and ispace EU was selected by ESA 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 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.