Falcon 9

Japan ispace, Inc. selects SpaceX Falcon 9 to launch its first cargo Lunar lander mission

Japan ispace, Inc. selects SpaceX Falcon 9 to launch its first cargo Lunar lander mission

ispace, Inc. is a lunar exploration company headquartered in Japan that is developing robotic landers. The company announced this week it selected SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket to launch its first cargo lunar lander Mission 1 (M1) next month, as part of the HAKUTO-R program. M1 is set to liftoff during a target window starting November 9 to 15 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The M1 lander will carry multiple commercial and government payloads, including a pair of rovers, to the Moon's surface. 

From 2013 to 2018, ispace managed the 'Hakuto' team that competed in Google Lunar XPrize (GLXP). They became one of five finalist teams for developing a lunar rover named 'Sorato.' Becoming a finalist in the GLXP competition enabled ispace to gather private investors to continue developing lunar rovers.To date, ispace has raised more than $200 million in funding. –“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," they stated. 

When the M1 lander arrives to the Moon, it will be operated from the HAKUTO-R Mission Control Center (MCC) located in Tokyo’s central business district, Nihonbashi. The M1 lander is equipped with instruments to collect data on  the lunar surface, including: images, video, as well as information on its attitude and temperature, among other things. The rover will pave the way for ispace's Mission 2 (M2) which will carry a NASA payload to the lunar surface sometime in the future. ispace is a subsidiary of Team Draper, a crew of engineers that NASA awarded $73 million to in July 2022. Team Draper will work on developing lunar lander technology to send scientific payloads to the Moon's surface, including two communication relay satellites to lunar orbit.

Featured Image Source: ispace, Inc.

About the Author

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.

Follow me on X


Tesla AI Team Seeks Employee in Europe to Improve NN for Scaling Autopilot & Tesla Bot
Made-in-Germany Tesla Model Y Arrives in Taiwan, First Customer Deliveries for December

Tesla Accessories