Dec 14, 2017

Congratulations ispace !

This week the Japanese space start-up ispace raised $90.2 million in funding to develop a lunar orbiter and a lunar lander, as their first steps towards building a transportation and lunar mining business. 

ispace is framing its future roadmap as the Moon Valley project, which begins with the first orbiter and lander missions (M1 and M2) by 2020. After that the company will continue to develop an Earth-Moon transportation platform with 7 more missions (M3 to M9) exploring for water in the permanently shadowed areas at the Moon's poles as well as carrying customer payloads.

Beyond that, in missions M10 and thereafter, the company plans to build the industrial infrastructure on the Moon needed to support the mining of polar water and the further development of lunar resources.

The avid reader may notice that ispace had its early beginnings as part of the White Label Space Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP) team, which later rebranded to become Hakuto. In the years that followed,  Hakuto secured the sponsorship of some impressive commercial partners in Japan including Au, Suzuki, Japan Airlines (JAL), Zoff, IHI, Toray and MitsukoshiLater, Hakuto became one of the 5 GLXP teams to secure a launch contract and advance to the final round of that competition. 

The company ispace was created by the steady and dedicated commitment of core members of the Hakuto team, under the leadership of Takeshi Hakamada (Hakamada-san). 

In many ways Hakuto's, and later ispace's, commercial success has been built on the very principle that White Label Space set out to prove back in 2008, namely that a professional team of space engineers and enthusiasts could build an exciting and engaging lunar mission concept that would attract the attention of big commercial brands and the public at large, drawing in the financial resources to actually do the hard stuff and make such a complex and ambitious mission happen.

We wish Hakamada-san and the whole ispace and Hakuto team the very best on their unprecedented journey to the next planetary body and beyond!