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Japanese lunar lander company ispace on schedule for 2021 first mission
by Jeff Foust — October 24, 2019


Japanese company ispace says its first lunar lander mission, M1, is on track to launch in 2021. Credit: ispace

WASHINGTON — Japanese lunar lander company ispace says it’s on track to launch its first mission in 2021 while supporting an American partner on potential NASA missions.

In an interview during the 70th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) here Oct. 23, Takeshi Hakamada, founder and chief executive of Tokyo-based ispace, said the company was currently during structural testing for the first of its Hakuto-R series of landers it plans to fly to the moon.

“We’re going to start assembly next year of the flight model,” he said. “We are on schedule right now.”

That mission, known simply as Mission 1 or M1, will demonstrate the lander’s capabilities. Hakamada said ispace hasn’t selected a landing site for M1 but is considering several candidate locations.

A second mission, M2, will launch in 2023 to land on the moon and carry additional payloads, including a small rover that ispace is developing. Work on both missions, as well as their launch on SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets, is funded from $95 million the company raised in late 2017.

Besides its own lunar lander designs, ispace is also partnered with a team led by Draper that is one of the nine companies with Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contracts. They offer a lander based on ispace’s design, but assembled in the United States to comply with NASA requirements that landers be built domestically.

Draper was not selected for the first round of task orders, awarded to Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines in May. “We’re preparing for the next task order,” Hakamada said, adding that he expected it to be released in the near future.

Hakamada spoke at a press conference during the IAC where the company donated a small rover it previously built, called Sorato, to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. The rover was built by Team Hakuto, the Google Lunar X Prize competitor that became ispace. The team had hoped to fly the rover to the moon on landers developed by Astrobotic and, later, TeamIndus, but neither launched before the competition ended in early 2018.

Hakamada said ispace decided not to fly Sorato on its upcoming lunar lander missions because it’s updating the rover design that it will go on the M2 mission. “We are planning to upgrade our rover to meet business requirements,” he said, such as standardized interfaces for payloads it will carry and improved power and communications.

Sorato will ultimately go on display in a new gallery focused on the future of spaceflight that the National Air and Space Museum plans to create as part a long-term renovation of the main museum building on the National Mall.

“What we hear from our visitors, when we do our visitor engagement surveys, is they want to learn more about the companies that have helped to shape spaceflight historically, and they want to be introduced to the new companies they see in the news,” Matt Shindell, lead curator for that new gallery. “We see this gallery as a place where those from all walks of life can engage with these stories and find their role in the future of spaceflight.”

The Sorato rover is one of the first items obtained by the museum for the gallery, he said. That gallery is scheduled to open in 2024.

Hakamada noted at the press conference that he was inspired to pursue lunar landers by the original Ansari X Prize, a $10 million suborbital spaceflight competition, including seeing the winning vehicle, SpaceShipOne, on display in the museum. “I’m personally very happy to be able to display our rover inside the same museum,” he said. “I hope Sorato will be seen as a symbol of the dawn of private space exploration for future generations that visit the museum.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/japanese-lunar-lander-company-ispace-on-schedule-for-2021-first-mission/

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Odp: [SN] Japan’s ispace updates design of lunar lander
« Odpowiedź #1 dnia: Sierpień 06, 2020, 01:04 »
Japan’s ispace updates design of lunar lander
by Jeff Foust — August 2, 2020


The updated design of ispace's Hakuto-R lander is smaller and carries less propellant, but with the same amount of payload. Credit: ispace

WASHINGTON — Japanese company ispace has updated the design of its commercial lunar lander while delaying its first flight by a year.

The company unveiled the revised design of its Hakuto-R lander July 30 as it completed the critical design review of the spacecraft. The lander is scheduled to make its first mission in 2022, launching on a SpaceX Falcon 9.

Since a preliminary design review in 2018, ispace has reduced the size of Hakuto-R. Previously 3.5 meters high and 4.4 meters wide with its landing legs deployed, the lander is now 2.3 meters high and 2.6 meters wide. The spacecraft’s mass has decreased from 1,400 to 1,050 kilograms, primarily by reducing the amount of propellant on board.

A smaller lander is less expensive to develop, said Ryo Ujiie, manager of the lander system engineering group at ispace, during a call with reporters July 30. It also reduces the size and complexity of the landing legs.

The spacecraft will use a different trajectory to go to the moon, employing a low-energy transfer orbit that requires less propellant but takes roughly twice as long as previously planned. “We had to pick a more propellant-efficient orbit” given the reduction in propellant, said Chit Hong Yam, manager of the mission design and operations group. “We’re confident that, with enough checking, we should be able to execute this orbit.”

While the overall lander is smaller, it still maintains a payload capacity of 30 kilograms. Once on the surface, likely at one of several mid-latitude sites on the moon under consideration by ispace, it will operate for 12 days.

The company also announced that it selected ArianeGroup to provide the propulsion for the lander. That includes one main thruster and six smaller “assist” thrusters, as well as eight small thrusters for its reaction control system.

Carlos Rabsiun, manager of the quality control and assembly, integration and testing group, said ispace chose ArianeGroup because the performance of its thrusters best met its lander design, as well as a favorable cost and schedule. “We compared them to various international proposals, and it was the best one.”

The company raised a $95 million Series A round in late 2017, and previously planned to launch its first lander mission in 2021, a schedule the company confirmed last fall. In its announcement of the revised lander design, though, the company said that the mission was now scheduled for 2022 “in response to technical issues which arose in recent months.”

In the call with reporters, ispace declined to go into details about those technical problems, other than to say it provided them with additional time to reassure customers and other stakeholders about the lander’s development. “To increase our mission success probability,” said Ujiie, “we decided to spend more time to solve that issue.”

Under this revised schedule, assembly of the lander will start in Japan next year, with final assembly, integration and testing work at an ArianeGroup facility in Germany. It will then be shipped to the United States for its Falcon 9 launch in 2022. A second lander mission remains scheduled for 2023.


Source: https://spacenews.com/japans-ispace-updates-design-of-lunar-lander/

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Japanese lunar lander company ispace raises $28 million
Jeff Foust August 20, 2020 [SN]


The updated design of ispace's Hakuto-R lander is smaller and carries less propellant, but with the same amount of payload. Credit: ispace

WASHINGTON — A Japanese company planning a series of lunar lander missions has raised $28 million that will allow it to complete development of its first mission.

Tokyo-based ispace announced Aug. 20 it raised the Series B round from a number of investors, led by Incubate Fund, a Japanese venture capital fund that has supported the company since its seed round. Another investor is Space Frontier Fund, a new space-focused venture fund established in May by several Japanese companies, including Toyota.
https://spacenews.com/japanese-lunar-lander-company-ispace-raises-28-million/

https://ispace-inc.com/news-en/?p=4440
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Japanese lander enters lunar orbit
Jeff Foust March 21, 2023 [SN]


An artist's depiction of ispace's M1 lunar lander. Credit: ispace

WASHINGTON — A lunar lander developed by Japanese company ispace has entered orbit around the moon, setting up a lunar landing attempt by the end of April.

Tokyo-based ispace said that its HAKUTO-R Mission 1 lander entered orbit at 9:24 p.m. Eastern March 20 after a burn by its main engine lasting several minutes. The company did not disclose the parameters of the orbit but said that the maneuver was a success.
https://spacenews.com/japanese-lander-enters-lunar-orbit/

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