22 Aug, 2019
Sumitomo Corporation to Explore Commercial Space Development Upon its 100th Anniversary
TOKYO – August 22, 2019 – Sumitomo Corporation, a 100-year old Japanese trading company and one of the world’s largest general trading companies, and ispace, inc. (“ispace”), a lunar exploration company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, are pleased to jointly announce that Sumitomo Corporation has become a Corporate Partner of HAKUTO-R, the world’s first commercial lunar exploration program. Upon the 100th anniversary of its founding, Sumitomo Corporation has decided to focus its attention on development of the commercial space industry.
On April 1, 2019, the trading company launched a new membership-based open innovation lab, called “Mirai Lab Palette” (“Mirai” is Japanese for “Future”) to promote collaboration and networking among partners across various fields and sectors with an eye toward the next 100 years.
HAKUTO-R aims to create a new market with the Earth and the Moon as one ecosystem, starting with the first commercial lunar exploration program, leading up to the economic development of the Moon. With the existence of the water on the Moon confirmed, the possibility for human presence to extend the Moon is possible. Water is an important resource for the development of space as H2O can be split into Hydrogen and Oxygen, providing a life support system and a fuel source with Hydrogen used for rocket propellant. The arrival of lunar industry will be preceded by the extraction and utilization of water resources, ultimately enabling humans to work and live on the Moon.
Sumitomo Corporation has also been involved in international space development through Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International, a joint venture with United Technologies Corporation, a company developing, manufacturing and marketing space suits and environmental control systems among others. Sumitomo Corporation has stepped into the next stage of commercial space development.
■ Eiji Ishida, Executive Officer, Sumitomo Corporation: “Building upon our contributions to the international space sector, Sumitomo Corporation will now venture into the private space sector, aiming to expand the future potential of the commercial usage of space.”
■ Takeshi Hakamada, Founder & CEO, ispace: “As we explore business creation in this entirely new market of economic development of the Moon, Sumitomo Corporation’s experience and network will prove invaluable to us. Learning from Sumitomo Corporation, we aspire to be the world’s first trading company on the Moon.”
■ Sumitomo Corporation https://www.sumitomocorp.com/
Sumitomo Corporation (“SC”) is a leading Fortune 500 global trading and business investment company with 132 locations (Japan: 22, Overseas: 110) in 66 countries and regions. The entire SC Group consists of more than 900 companies. SC conducts commodity transactions in all industries utilizing worldwide networks, provides related customers with various financing, serves as an organizer and a coordinator for various projects, and invests in companies to promote greater growth potential. SC’s core business areas include Metal Products, Transportation and Construction Systems, Infrastructure, Media and Digital, Living Related and Real Estate, Mineral Resources, Energy, and Chemical and Electronics.
■ ispace, inc. https://ispace-inc.com/
ispace, inc. (ispace) is a private lunar exploration company with a vision to extend human presence beyond Earth. The company has 100 staff from 13 different countries; operates in Japan (HQ), the United States and Europe; and has signed partnerships with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Government of Luxembourg. ispace raised nearly $95 million (USD) in Series A funding—the largest on record in Japan and more than almost any other space company in history. ispace also managed Team HAKUTO, one of the 5 finalists in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition.
■ HAKUTO-R https://ispace-inc.com/hakuto-r/
HAKUTO-R is the world’s first private lunar exploration program consisting of multiple missions. It includes ispace’s first two lunar exploration missions: Mission 1, a Moon orbit in mid-2020, and Mission 2, a Moon landing in mid-2021. For both missions, ispace’s lunar lander and rovers will be carried as secondary payloads on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The program is intended to be technology demonstration, allowing ispace to lay the groundwork for higher-frequency, customer-focused missions.
The ispace / HAKUTO-R Media Room can be accessed here.