21 Apr, 2022
TOKYO – April 21, 2022 – ispace, inc. (ispace) and Sky Co., Ltd. (Sky) have signed a Corporate Partner agreement to join HAKUTO-R, a commercial lunar exploration program operated by ispace. The program includes ispace’s first two lunar missions: Mission 1 (M1), a soft lunar landing planned to launch in 2022*, and Mission 2 (M2), a lunar landing and deployment of a rover planned to launch in 2024*. For both missions, the lander is planned to launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The program aspires to lay the groundwork for high-frequency lunar transportation and lunar data collection.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ispace has been carrying out development partially through remote work since Spring 2020. As such, ispace has faced challenges like many companies during the pandemic, including procurement delays, limitations on the number of personnel at testing facilities, travel restrictions, and other issues. As one measure to alleviate such challenges, ispace uses Sky’s “SKYSEA Client View,” which aims to protect the physical and mental health of employees and efficiently manage and operate IT assets to support telework operations, thereby streamlining and improving operational efficiency.
● Junji Oura, CEO, Sky Co., Ltd.: “Since its foundation, Sky has been aiming to realize an enriched information society by connecting people, society, and technology. Even today, as we expand our business domain, we have not forgotten our original goal and continue to strive to be a company that can contribute to people and society. We are pleased to be able to contribute to the space sector and to the future of humankind through our contribution to HAKUTO-R, a commercial program aiming for the Moon.”
● Takeshi Hakamada, Founder & CEO, ispace: “In order for each of our employees to achieve their goals toward the realization of our mission, it is important to have a system that supports them. We are very pleased to have Sky join our program as a new Corporate Partner. We are grateful to our employees who work hard every day even in the unfamiliar environment of teleworking, and we hope that Sky will support our efforts to further support their activities.”
Progress Update for HAKUTO-R M1:
In January, ispace announced Q4 2022 as its earliest launch target with assembly and integration targeted for completion before the end of Spring. As we enter Q2 2022, we’re pleased to announce that our development schedule is still on track with that timing. In terms of progress, our propulsion system and structural integration are both complete; electrical integrations are ongoing; and, we’ve begun installing payloads, external sensors, and our rover deployment mechanism. If all continues according to plan, we aim to begin final testing by early June, at which time, we will transport our lander from the ArianeGroup GmbH facility in Lampoldshausen to an IABG facility in Ottobrunn near Munich, Germany for final testing. At this pace, we plan to ship our lander to Florida by early Autumn for launch preparations.
Sky Co., Ltd. (https://www.skygroup.jp/)
Sky started out developing systems for home appliances, and since then has developed systems for a wide range of fields, including digital multifunction devices, car electronics, mobile devices, information appliances, and its own products, such as learning activity software for the education field and client operation management software for the public and private sectors. Sky will continue to provide technology and services that accurately meet the needs of society.
ispace, inc. (https://ispace-inc.com/)
ispace is a lunar exploration company with over 170 staff and offices in Japan, Europe, and the United States. ispace builds small commercial lunar landers, aiming to provide a high-frequency, low-cost delivery service to the Moon. Aspiring to be a gateway for private sector companies to bring their businesses to the Moon, ispace has also launched a lunar data business concept to support companies with their entry into the lunar market. The company’s first lunar mission is currently planned for 2022*. The lander for that mission is currently undergoing final assembly at an ArianeGroup facility in Germany and will launch from the United States on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
HAKUTO-R is a lunar exploration program operated consisting of ispace’s first two lunar missions: Mission 1, a soft lunar landing planned to launch in 2022*, and Mission 2, a lunar landing and deployment of a rover planned for 2024*. HAKUTO-R’s Corporate Partners include Japan Airlines Co., Ltd., Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd., NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd., Citizen Watch Co., Ltd., Suzuki Corporation, Sumitomo Corporation, Takasago Thermal Engineering Co., Ltd., and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, SMBC Nikko Securities Co., Ltd and Sky Corporation. HAKUTO-R Media Partners include TBS Holdings, Inc., Asahi Shimbun Co., Ltd., and Shogakukan Co., Ltd.
* Current plan as of April 2022.