Japan’s ispace on schedule for 2021 moon mission
The lunar lander firm ispace of Japan is planning for launching their first mission in the year 2021. The chief executive and founder of ispace, Takeshi Hakamada has said during 70th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) on the 23 of October that the structural testing for the first of Hakuto-R lander series for its flight to moon is ongoing.
He said that the assembly of the flight model will begin by the next year. The mission will be known as Mission 1 or M1 and will be demonstrating the capabilities of the lander. Hakamada has said that M1’s landing site has not been selected yet and that various candidate locations are being considered. M2, second mission to land on moon will be launched in the year 2023 and will be carrying additional payloads which will include small rover that is being developed by ispace.
$95 million has been raised by the company in 2017 and this money will be used for funding both the missions and their launch on the Falcon 9 rockets of Space X. Apart from having their own designs for lunar landers, ispace has also partnered with Draper which is one among the 9 companies with CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) contracts. They will be offering the lander which is based on the design formulated by ispace but to comply with the requirements of NASA that the landers must be domestically built, they will be assembled in US. Hakamada said that a small rover which was previously built by the company known as Sorato will be donated to the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. He said that ispace has decided not to have Sorato fly in the upcoming lunar missions as the rover design for M2 mission is being updated.
He said that the company is planning for upgrading the rovers for meeting business requirements. This will include standardized interfaces for the payloads as well as improved communications and power. Sorato will be displayed on the new gallery which will be created by the National Air and Space Museum as part of their long-term renovation plan of main building on National Mall. Lead curator for new gallery, Matt Shindell said that they have found from visitor surveys that people were interested in knowing about companies which helped in shaping spaceflight historically. The gallery has been scheduled to be opened in the year 2024.