12 Apr, 2023
Historic Landing Set for April 25, 2023 (UTC)
TOKYO—April 12, 2023—ispace, inc., (ispace) a global lunar exploration company, announced today that the earliest scheduled landing date for the HAKUTO-R Mission 1 Lunar Lander is set for Tuesday, April 25, 2023, at 16:40 (UTC).
*The above dates and times are subject to change depending on operational conditions.
As of April 12, 2023, the Mission 1 lander is orbiting the Moon in an elliptical orbit with an altitude of about 100 km at the perilune (periapsis) and about 2300 km at the apolune (apoapsis). After insertion into lunar orbit, the lander’s onboard camera successfully photographed and acquired images of the Moon.
This image was captured by ispace cameras on March 26, 2023, at an altitude of about 2,000 km from the Moon. The image shows the eastern rim of the Moon, and craters Petavius, Vendelinus, and Langrenus.
The lander is scheduled to perform multiple orbital control maneuvers to reach 100 km circular orbit around the Moon to complete Success 8 of the Mission 1 Milestones.
At approximately 15:40 on April 25, 2023, (UTC), the lander is scheduled to begin the landing sequence from the 100 km altitude orbit. During the sequence, the lander will perform a braking burn, firing its main propulsion system to decelerate from orbit. Utilizing a series of pre-set commands, the lander will adjust its attitude and reduce velocity in order to make a soft landing on the lunar surface. The process will take approximately one hour.
Should conditions change, there are three alternative landing sites and depending on the site, the landing date may change. Alternative landing dates, depending on the operational status, are April 26, May 1, and May 3, 2023.
“To all of our supporters and everyone who has been looking forward to the day when we will land on the Moon, I am pleased to announce the scheduled landing date for Mission 1,” said Takeshi Hakamada, Founder and CEO of ispace. “What we have accomplished so far is already a great achievement, and we are already applying lessons learned from this flight to our future missions. I would like to once again express my heartfelt thanks to those who have worked so hard on this mission, including the engineers who are carrying out the long-term operations since our launch back in December. The stage is set. I am looking forward to witnessing this historic day, marking the beginning of a new era of commercial lunar missions.”
The completion of all lunar orbital maneuvers prior to the beginning of the landing sequence—Success 8 of the Mission 1 Success Milestones—is scheduled to be announced in late-April 2023.
A live-streaming broadcast from Tokyo is being planned for the landing day. More details will be announced once they become available.
Mission 1 Milestones
For Mission 1, ispace has set 10 milestones between launch and landing, and aims to achieve the success criteria established for each of these milestones. Recognizing the possibility of an anomaly during the mission, the results will be weighed and evaluated against the criteria and incorporated into future missions already in development between now and 2025. Mission 2 and Mission 3, which also will contribute to NASA’s Artemis Program, will further improve the maturity of ispace’s technology and business model. Future announcements on progress of milestone achievement are expected to be released once attained.
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 U.S. 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. Both ispace, and 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 launched on Dec. 11, 2022, from the United States on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and is currently expected to land on the lunar surface on April 25, 2023. Subsequent missions are in development with launches expected in 2024 and 2025. ispace has also launched a lunar data business concept to support new customers as a gateway to conduct business on the Moon.