October 22, 2021

Japanese startup ispace unveils new moon lander with a target launch date in 2024 – Firstpost

https://www.firstpost.com/tech/science/japanese-startup-ispace-unveils-new-moon-lander-with-a-target-launch-date-in-2024-9913801.html

ispace unveiled its designs for a third lunar lander that will potentially be launched by 2024. The company has said that its next-generation lunar lander, dubbed Series 2, would be able to survive the frigid lunar night.

The lander would also be a larger spacecraft and will be able to handle a bigger payload than the start-up’s first lander. The new vehicle will be capable of carrying up to 2,000 kilograms into lunar orbit and 500 kilograms to the surface of the moon.

ispace is a Japanese aerospace startup that was founded in 2010, with a focus on the moon. The company was founded by Takeshi Hakata Their tagline is “A world where the earth and the moon become one ecosystem.”

ispace’s Series 2 lunar lander. Credit: ispace

ispace’s Series 2 lunar lander. Credit: ispace

Series 2 will also include multiple payload bays and advanced Guidance Navigation and Control system (GNC) to ensure it sticks to its predetermined path. It is said to be capable of landing on both the near and far sides of the moon, including the poles.

ispace has said the preliminary design reviews for Series 2 have been completed. Takeshi Hakamada, Founder and CEO of ispace said the mission “will enable us to not only increase our capabilities but also to provide greater access and opportunities for our customers”.

The startup also said it had raised about $46 billion from its Series C funding round to help in the company’s second and third lunar mission. It is also set to collaborate with Canadian company Stardust, Australia’s University of Technology Sydney and EXPLOR Space Technologies over developing a lunar resources extraction rover with mixed reality and haptic robot arm features.

Last year, the company had announced a new data platform business called “Blueprint Moon”. It will collect data of the moon and apply it to tools and make it available to other agencies, companies and research organisations to help in future mission developments.

The initiative was announced in anticipation of increased activity and human presence on the moon in the next few years, according to ispace.

Carrier of UAE’s moon rover

The startup had earlier announced that it will transport the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Rashid rover to the moon in 2022. iSpace “will deliver the Emirates lunar mission’s ‘Rashid’ rover to the Moon, provide wired communication and power during the cruise phase, and engage in wireless communication on the lunar surface”.

For this mission, iSpace will use Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to blast off from Florida in the United States.

Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum has said that the Emirati-made rover will cover “areas not yet reached in previous exploration missions”.

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