Japan’s iSpace recently revealed its plan for future missions after winning a $55 million NASA moon landing deal. On Thursday, September 28, the company’s representatives made several announcements revealing the firm’s goals to become one of the major players in moon exploration in the near future. iSpace officials boldly revealed that the company would be opening its new United States Headquarters in Denver.
“We’re a U.S. company launching an American spacecraft from American soil to the moon, but we’re doing it with the strength of being a combined family of companies, a family of nations, all going to the moon together,” former NASA astronaut Ron Garan, the CEO of iSpace technologies U.S., announced during the briefing.
iSpace is hoping to develop its new Apex 1.0 lunar lander from its new U.S. headquarters. This lunar lander would increase dedicated satellite bays, boost protections for sensitive payloads, and also build it with a projected payload capacity of 1,100 lbs (500 kilograms).
“The lander will be able to deliver and operate the most sensitive payload operations to the near side [and the] far side of the moon,” Daniel Hanson, an official at iSpace revealed during the announcement.
How iSpace Intends to Accomplish $55 Million NASA Moon Landing Deal
iSpace is looking forward to delivering some of its projected payloads on behalf of NASA. The company’s officials revealed that NASA is its primary customer for its upcoming Mission 3 as the American Space Agency has selected the firm to be part of its Commercial Lunar Payload Services program (CLPS). iSpace officials revealed during the briefing that it won a $55 million NASA moon landing deal for its upcoming Mission 3 which is planned to land the lunar lander near the moon’s south pole.
This lander will take about 210 pounds (95 kg) of scientific payloads and deliver it to the moon’s surface during the mission. iSpace is also planning to deliver relay satellites during Mission 3. These relay satellites will remain and operate in the moon’s orbit as communication relays. Hence, the company will rely on these satellites to achieve the primary goal of this mission.
“And since there’s still room for more payload capacity,” Garan stated, “we are continuing conversations with private companies and government agencies to acquire global customers in addition to NASA.”
Garan also revealed that the iSpace has reached an agreement to sign a contract for another Mission 3 payload. However, he did not give more details about that. The firm is hoping to launch its upcoming Mission 2 in 2024. However, the Mission 3 launch date that was formally scheduled for 2025 is now rescheduled to 2026.
What Happened to iSpace First Launch
The company successfully launched its first mission in December 2022. That successful launch put Hakuto-R lander on a path to land on the moon. iSpace planned to land the Hakuto-R lander near the 54-mile-wide (87 kilometers) Atlas Crater in the Mare Frigoris (“Sea of Cold”) region of the moon’s near side on April 26, 2023.
However, the onboard computer mounted on the lunar lander miscalculated its altitude while aiming for a soft landing on the lunar surface. This made the lander to crash onto the lunar surface. In addition, the success of that mission would have been celebrated globally as no private company has ever achieved a soft landing on the moon.
Hopefully, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will achieve a soft landing with its SLIM lunar lander. This sophisticated space vehicle was launched earlier last month and will be attempting a lunar touchdown in the next three months.
iSpace is a Tokyo-based private space company working to change the future of space exploration. Japan’s iSpace recently revealed its plan for future missions after winning a $55 million NASA moon landing deal. The company’s representative recently revealed how the firm is working to achieve success during its future mission. What do you think about the promising future of iSpace among the stars? Check out these mind-blowing spacesuits to gift a space lover.