TOKYO, JAPAN — A Japanese startup is speeding up moon exploration by getting investors to buy into three lunar missions that are on schedule to start launching next year already.
Next year’s moon mission will deliver Dubai’s first lunar rover and a Japanese moon robot to the surface of the moon.
Here are the details: TechCrunch reports that a Japanese technology startup has raised millions to build a moon lander that will deliver the United Arab Emirates’ first rover to the moon next year.
To date, the relatively small Japanese company, called ispace, has raised $195.5 million dollars through crowdfunding, plus a $500,000 payment from Google’s Lunar XPRIZE contest in 2018, for designing a prototype Hakuto lunar rover.
The updated Hakuto-R lunar flight module has reached its final stages of assembly and is on schedule for a launch in the fourth quarter of 2022.
It will be carried to space on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Apart from the UAE’s moon rover, the lander will also deliver a Japanese lunar robot and three static onboard experiments from Canada.
In 2023 a second HAKUTO-R lander will deliver an ispace rover intended to collect data to support subsequent missions.
2024 will see ispace send a larger lunar lander that is currently being developed in the U.S. Ispace’s ambitions lie in commercial landers aimed at carrying rovers and science experiments to the lunar surface.
It is also looking to monetize data it gathers from the moon, which it hopes to sell on to other companies, such as space agencies and research organisations, to aid preparations for their own missions to Earth’s nearest neighbour.