The company has managed team HAKUTO, the only one Japanese team that has ever participated at the Google Lunar XPRIZE.


Imagine the Moon supporting construction, energy, steel procurement, communications, transportation, agriculture, medicine, and tourism… We believe that by 2040 the Moon will support a population of 1,000, with 10,000 people visiting every year. ISPACE will be instrumental in supporting life on Earth through space-based infrastructure.
Credit: ispace / Published on Dec 12, 2017

Japan's Lunar Lander and Rover

On-board the Lander-A fixed payload that does not require movement, such as cameras, communications devices, cell cultivation devices.

On-board the Rover - Payloads that require movement on the moon, such as videos and driving data acquisition as well as resource harvest in systems.
Environmental Information Acquisition 
The goal is acquiring information about the lunar surface environment for future manned missions and the development of a lunar base. To do so, it will use Mass Spectrometers, Radiation Dosimeters, Thermometers and Excavation Drills.
Technology Demonstration
The goal is to demonstrate that, the robotic construction can advance unmanned lunar exploration and develop communications, resources, and transport technology. To do so, it will use Batteries, Material verification, 3D Printers and Actuators.
Pharmaceutical / Life Sciences   
The use of the moon’s microgravity environment for the research and development of life sciences including cell cultivation. That means, using Cell culture devices, Telescopes, Electrolysis devices and, Crystallization devices.
Entertainment / Educational
The goal here is acquiring images of the lunar surface for educational content or entertainment programming, industry PR activities, as well as art projects. ISPACEwill uses Cameras, Images and videos, Art pieces and, Commercial products.
HAKUTO-R: The World's First Commercial Lunar Exploration Program


ispace is almost ready for launch!

Japan-based lunar exploration company ispace, inc. raises $90.2 million to be used for development of lunar lander and two lunar missions by 2020

TOKYO – December 13th, 2017 — ispace, a Japan-based private lunar exploration company, announced today that it has raised $90.2 million* in Series A funding—not only the largest-ever Series A raised in Japan, but also the largest to date in the global commercial space sector.
The funding was joined by Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, Development Bank of Japan, Tokyo Broadcasting System, Konica Minolta, Shimizu, Suzuki Motor, SPARX, Dentsu, Real Tech Fund, KDDI, Japan Airlin-.2s, and Toppan Printing.

ISPACE - Expand our planet. Expand our future.

Actually, ispace prepare two missions: one to orbit the Moon and, the other, to land on it. These missions will be the first privately-led projects of their kind. In the same time, the company has operated team HAKUTO, the only member from Japan to participate in the Google Lunar XPRIZE.
The first mission, 2019-2020, will be the first privately-led Japanese test mission to inject the lander into a lunar orbit and relay lunar data to the Earth. It’s a critical mission to test data-gathering technology and Earth–Moon transport service technology.

The next seven missions, 2021, will involve constructing the Earth-Moon transportation platform, centering on polar water exploration. From this point, we will increase the frequency of lunar landings and rover expeditions to transport customer payloads and send back data upon request.
Mission 10 and beyond, 2022+, will focus on building an industrial platform for steady lunar development. With our highly specialized landers and rovers, we can pioneer the discovery and development of lunar resources.


The Team included members of ispace, Tohoku University, and Pro-Bono experts from various fields.
During milestones tests, HAKUTO was awarded by a Mobility Milestone Prize from theGoogle Lunar XPRIZE in January 2015.
The SORATO rover of HAKUTO is covered by a Silver-coated Teflon, which keep stable the temperature inside and provide the necessary resistance to operate at -150º and +100º C on the moon. Except this cover, the body is made in Carbon-fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP), that give its strength and lightweight. Also, in miniaturizing technology, then the design, commercial parts keep costs down as well contribute smoother development process.
Located on either side of the rover, lightweight solar panels offer more exposure to sunlight. That will give more autonomy for surface's operations. To move with efficiency on the powder-like sand, HAKUTO has developed a 3D printed wheels, made by ULTEM RESIN, with grouser tracks.
ULTEM RESINS are used in medical and chemical instrumentation due to their heat resistance, solvent resistance and flame resistance. It is an amorphous, transparent polyetherimide (PEI) plastic offering a glass transition temperature (Tg) of 217°C.
Highly sophisticated, miniaturized, lightweight, strong, the SORATO rover need only one more thing: a good communication and visual systems.
HAKUTO's Team has provided SORATO with a camera system using four cameras that capture images at 360º for research and maneuvers.
To communicate, the rover use a hybrid communication architecture, which combines the 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz frequencies. 


Whit what ispace want to proceed?

ispace has already started the development of its small, agile and modular lunar lander. The main goal is to provide a regular transportation service to the Moon.
The lunar lander will accommodate roughly 30kg of payloads, including the two exploration rovers. On these rovers, 5kg of payloads can be carrying.
The first mission (Mission 1)scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2019, will inject the lander in a lunar orbit for observations.
For the second mission (Mission 2) in the fourth quarter of 2020, the lander will attempt a soft landing on the Moon. Many rovers will explore and map the surface.
The ispace's focus on micro-robotics reduce the overall mission cost. The effect is more missions are launched, which accelerate research and development activities around the Moon.
During the mission, ispacewill provide data services about images and videos captured, the environment, the available resources and its composition, as well as a high-fidelity 3-D topographic mapping of the surrounding.
These data could be used for R&D purposes, resource development planning, education and promotional campaigns by private companies.
With these services, the Moon can be a new staging ground for cutting-edge initiatives. And, by catalyzing the synergy between existing players of the industry and non-space companies, ispacecreate new values for the space industry and make space accessible FOR ALL.
The two missions are the starting point to establish the transportation and resource development technologies required to support a water-based space economy.
ispacepredicts that, by 2040, the Moon would be inhabited by 1,000 people, with over 10,000 visitors every year. Infrastructure on the surface will be centered around the Moon’s water resources, supported by a variety of industries including construction, manufacturing, steel, energy, communications, transportation, agriculture, medicine and tourism. ISPACE will spearhead this development by providing access to the lunar surface and creating a world where the Earth and the Moon are one ecosystem.
This is the Moon Valley Concept of ISPACE

ispace 2040 VISION

Rover Development

Four cameras for images at 360º

Hybrid Communication

Carbon-Fiber Reinforced Plastic

3D Printed Wheels


The SLIM mission to the Moon

In the decade of 2020-2030, the Japanese Aerospace eXploration Agency (JAXA) will launch many missions around and on the Moon. The Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) mission scheduled to be launched in 2020 will a precursor of full-scale lunar or planetary missions. The Small lunar-lander of about 100 kg has been approved in 2015 like an engineering demonstration of a pin-point (< 100 m precision) landing guided by a automatic obstacle avoidance system. JAXA will decide later for the official landing site.+
The feathers includes an • Image-based navigation utilizing Lunar terrain • an Autonomous obstacle detection • a Robust pin-point guidance • a Landing shock to absorb • a High-performance propulsion system

The pinpoint landing technique necessary for future lunar and planetary exploration will be study and demonstrate with this small SLIM spacecraft.
Engineers wants to achieve a qualitative shift like "get down to where you want to get off", not the conventional "landing down" landing.
In the future missions, if it carrying out a sample of supplies from the moon become possible, a SLIM-class return spacecraft  such Hayabusa will also be returned to Earth. Specifically, SLIM aims to contribute to future lunar and planet exploration by achieving an high precision landing technology by small spacecraft and making high frequency of landing on the surface.
High precision landing is indispensable for future solar system scientific exploration. This is because the knowledge of celestial target body is better and the content to be explored is more concrete than before. 
By its lightweight, the Small Lunar Lander Slim provide the possibility to re-allocate resources for more scientific exploration.
Actually, various technologies and researches are made to help SLIM achieving its mass reduction. 

Possible landing site selection

For lunar polar missions, landing sites must be selected in terms of several requirements, such as sunlight condition, direct-to-Earth (DTE) communication capability and terrain conditions. Using terrain data obtained by Terrain Camera (TC) on KAGUYA (SELENE) and Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) on Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), polar region landing site analysis is ongoing. In addition, JAXA carried out multi-objective optimization for selecting landing sites that satisfy four objectives: the shortness of continuous nights, the length of DTE communicable time, the terrain inclination and the ice distribution.

Concept study of polar lander

JAXA supports internationally-coordinated missions to understand resource potential of lunar polar volatiles. JAXA had been studied the lunar lander SELENE-2 as a follow-on mission of the lunar orbiter Kaguya (SELENE). In addition, from the viewpoint of exploring for lunar volatiles, a new landing mission that is optimized for landing in a lunar polar region has also been studied. Recently, JAXA jointly works with NASA and its partners to defining a lunar lander concept for the Resource Prospector Mission.
Landing guidance control technology

While increasing the robustness of the, including the thrust error of propulsion thrusters various errors, in order to save the propellant consumption, has been using the method for obtaining a quasi-optimal solution in real-time, especially weight restriction is aimed at realization of a severe SLIM Therefore we develop and study a control law / system that does not degrade pinpoint landing performance even in situations where we do not allocate many resources (weight and computing capacity) to the landing guidance system.
Image collation navigation

In order to get down to where you want to get off, the probe needs to know exactly where you are. Therefore, the spacecraft periodically captures the appearance of the moon surface with a camera, and estimates its position from the appearance.
Especially in a gravitational celestial body such as the moon, since it is necessary to finish the landing in a short time after getting off, it is necessary to estimate your own position with advanced autonomous function. In SLIM, research is under way to realize this by recognizing craters by image processing technology.
Landing impact absorption system

How to absorb the shock at landing and protect the spacecraft is a big problem for landing exploration. Although conventional honeycomb crash mechanisms and airbags have been used in traditional explorers, SLIM is aiming to make lighter and more reliable shock absorption by using foamed aluminum
Thermal control system

Among the probes, weak to temperature change are tank batteries, of which the tank has a relatively large heat capacity and a small battery. Therefore, by thermally coupling the battery and the tank, it is possible to control the upper temperature limit of the battery without securing a large heat dissipation area for the battery.
Power system

Using thin film battery sheets and SUS laminate batteries for miniaturization is a major feature.
In addition, by using a digital control power supply, we can realize function integration along with weight saving, and we will be able to effectively respond to prospecting in the future where the intensity of solar light fluctuates greatly.
Propulsion system

SLIM heading towards the moon requires more thrust than Earth orbiting satellites. Therefore, the amount of propellant inevitably increases, but in order to solve this problem, thrusters with higher combustion efficiency are required. SLIM is taking advantage of the experience of "Akatsuki" to improve the performance and reliability of ceramic thrusters.