What is HAKUTO-R?
HAKUTO-R is a multinational commercial lunar exploration program operated by ispace. It includes ispace’s first two lunar missions: Mission 1, a soft lunar landing in 2022, and Mission 2, a lunar landing and deployment of a rover in 2023. For both missions, the HAKUTO-R lander will launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
The first mission will perform a soft landing on the Moon. This will be the first privately-led Japanese mission to land on the lunar surface.
Lunar Surface Exploration
The second mission will perform a soft landing and deploy a rover for surface exploration and data collection on the Moon.
「The Story of HAKUTO-R
“HAKUTO” means “white rabbit” in Japanese. In legendary folklore in Japan, it is said that a white rabbit lives on the Moon. This was the inspiration for the name HAKUTO, one of the 5 finalists in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition—a race for the first private lunar exploration mission.
Managed by ispace, and supported by sponsors, a passionate crew of volunteers, a large fan club in Japan, HAKUTO competed in the race for the greater part of the past decade. In 2015, the team achieved a $500,000 milestone prize, and in 2017, it completed and delivered a flight-ready rover to its launch location. However, since ispace relied on a partner for the lander and launch, which were not fulfilled, and as no other contestants were capable of completing the mission, the competition ended in March 2018 without a winner. As a result, Team HAKUTO officially closed.
Now, six months later, ispace has brought back the “HAKUTO” name as the Program Name for its first two lunar missions. Thus, the “R” stands for “Reboot” in the spirit of reenergizing our motivation and drive toward our goal. As an evolution of the HAKUTO logo, the HAKUTO-R logo combines the concepts of a lunar orbit and the Moon’s surface, which together forms the design of a white rabbit similar in shape to an “H” for HAKUTO.