TOKYO—October 31, 2022—Today, ispace, inc. (ispace) Founder and CEO Takeshi Hakamada announced that the company’s Mission 1 (M1) lunar lander, part of the company’s HAKUTO-R lunar exploration program, was delivered by cargo plane to the United States and is now in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
In addition, ispace announced an updated launch window for M1. In careful coordination with SpaceX, both sides agreed to target no earlier than November 22, 2022, for launch of the HAKUTO-R M1. This updated target launch date allows for best preparation for the mission when considering the fuel-loading schedule for the lander and launch date availability. An updated launch date will be announced once confirmed.
“This mission will be a historic first not only for our company, but also for the development of the cislunar economy,” said Takeshi Hakamada, Founder and CEO of ispace. “On our first mission, we are honored to work with NASA to complete a commercial transaction of lunar regolith and carry payloads from agencies including JAXA and MBRSC along with our commercial customers and partners. I am very proud of our team for their work to make this a reality. I look forward to this launch as well as our subsequent missions in the near future.”
Following the 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, operational state, and other conditions, send commands and data to the lander, and receive images and telemetry among other 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). 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).
Assembly of the lander was completed at the end of May at ArianeGroup GmbH’s (AGG) facility in Lampoldshausen, Germany. Upon completion of the flight model integration, the lander was packed and shipped from the AGG facility to the IABG GmbH Space Centre in Ottobrun, Germany, where it underwent final testing including vibration tests, thermal vacuum tests, mass property and functional testing, among others, to prove its readiness for the harsh extremes of space.
The M1 lander is loaded onto the cargo plane for transport to Cape Canaveral, Fla.
In late October, the lander was transferred to the Munich International Airport in Germany where it was loaded onto a cargo plane and flown to Cape Canaveral, Fla.
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 payloads, ispace US expects to carry additional commercial payloads on M3 to reach full capacity. ispace is in active negotiations to fill M3 orders and beyond.
About ispace, inc.
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 October 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. Learn more online: ispace-inc.com
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.
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