JAL Assisting Lunar Lander Assembly & Transportation; Pursuing Future Space Business
TOKYO – February 22, 2019 – Japan Airlines Corporation (“JAL”) and lunar exploration company, ispace, inc., announced today that JAL has become a Corporate Partner of HAKUTO-R, the world’s first commercial lunar exploration program.
JAL was a Corporate Partner of Team HAKUTO, the sole Japanese competitor and one of the 5 finalists in the Google Lunar XPRIZE Competition, which ended in March 2018. In alignment with the “Challenge JAL” platform, in which JAL encourages the constant pursuit of pushing boundaries of what humans can achieve, the company will continue to support ispace’s challenge to reach the Moon, participating as a Corporate Partner to HAKUTO-R (“HAKUTO-Reboot”).
Last October, the two organizations announced that JAL Engineering Company (JALEC) will provide a facility near Narita International Airport for the assembly, integration and testing of HAKUTO-R’s lunar landers, as well as technical support, such as welding. Following the completion of the flight models, JAL will support the transportation of the landers to the launch site. (*1)
JAL’s dedication to ispace’s vision is also founded on the company’s aspiration to create its own space business. Leveraging the learnings gained from the HAKUTO-R mission, JAL will pursue the creation of a space business as one of their frontier business development efforts. Through its support of HAKUTO-R, the world’s first commercial lunar exploration program, JAL is helping to open up the new lunar frontier and contribute to the expansion of human activity in space.
“Japan Airlines has been one of our most dedicated supporters over the years,” said Takeshi Hakamada, Founder & CEO of ispace. “We are grateful they continue to push us toward our dream.”
In December 2017, ispace announced that JAL joined its Series A funding round (*2), in which ispace raised $90.2 million USD—the largest Series A on record in Japan, and among the largest in the global space industry. (*3)
(*3) ispace raises an additional $1.8M from Tohoku University Venture Partners in Series A funding; Feb 2018 (totaling $94.5 million USD based on the Feb 2018 USD/JPY exchange rate)
- Japan Airlines Corporation (https://www.jal.com/en/outline/corporate/)
Japan Airlines (JAL) was founded in 1951 and became the first international airline in Japan. A member of the oneworld alliance, the airline now reaches 349 airports in 52 countries and regions together with its codeshare partners with a modern fleet of more than 230 aircraft. Following its corporate slogan, FLY INTO TOMORROW, JAL aspires to become the first choice for customers around the world. Every JAL employee constantly aims to achieve the highest goals and strives to maintain JAL’s competitive edge by introducing exciting new products and value.
- Japan Airlines Engineering Co., Ltd. (http://www.jalec.co.jp/index.html)
JALEC is an aircraft maintenance company responsible for developing aircraft for the JAL Group. Based at Narita International Airport, Haneda International Airport, and Osaka International Airport, the company provides maintenance of engines and components for Japan Airlines aircraft.
- 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 over 85 staff from 13 different countries; operates in Japan (HQ), Luxembourg and the US; 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.