2 Dec, 2022
TOKYO—December 2, 2022—Today, ispace, inc. (ispace), a global lunar exploration company, announced that it is continuing discussions with SpaceX, the launch provider, to identify an updated target launch date for the private lunar exploration program “HAKUTO-R” Mission 1.
This new date will follow a lunar trajectory blackout period from December 3 to December 6 (a period during which it is difficult to navigate the planned orbit) and will be determined based on launch vehicle readiness.
An announcement will be made once a new target launch date has been confirmed.
(Left) The Falcon 9 rocket being moved to the launch pad in the early morning of November 30 (JST)
(Right) The Falcon 9 rocket prepared for launch on the morning of November 30 (JST). The lander is mounted inside the rocket’s fairing.
As of November 30 (JST), the launch vehicle had been transferred to the launch pad and lander battery charging operations had been completed. However, it was decided to return the launch vehicle to a hanger for additional inspections. Battery charging operations for the lander will continue during that time. No issues with the lander itself have been identified and a press briefing was held on the afternoon of December 1 (JST) regarding the launch postponement.
Please see below link for further details (Japanese language only):
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/qN9yO23E0lk
(The video shows the beginning of the briefing, with explanations by ispace CEO & Founder Hakamada, as well as CTO Ujiie).
As of today (Dec. 2 JST), no major operational changes are planned if the launch is completed by mid-December, with lunar landing scheduled for the end of April 2023. There is currently no plan to change the target landing site. Mission 1 will also be carried out in case of launch later than mid-December, however changes to the operation schedule and the target lunar landing date may be considered.
About ispace, inc.
ispace, a global lunar resource development company with the vision, “Expand our Planet. Expand our Future.”, specializes in designing and building lunar landers and rovers. ispace aims to extend the sphere of human life into space and create a sustainable world by providing high-frequency, low-cost transportation services to the Moon. The company has offices in Japan, Luxembourg, and the United States with more than 200 employees worldwide. ispace technologies U.S., inc. is part of a team led by Draper, which was awarded a NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) Program contract to land on the far side of the Moon by 2025 (as of December 2022). Both ispace, and ispace EUROPE S.A. (ispace EU) were awarded contracts to collect and transfer ownership of lunar regolith to NASA, and ispace EU was selected by ESA to be part of the Science Team for PROSPECT, a program which seeks to extract water on the Moon.
Established in 2010, ispace operated “HAKUTO” which was one of five finalist teams in the Google Lunar XPRIZE race. The company’s first mission as part of its HAKUTO-R lunar exploration program is currently planned for as early as December 2022 and is expected to launch from the United States on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. ispace has also launched a lunar data business concept to support new customers as a gateway to conduct business on the Moon.