A Japanese startup launches historic mission to the Moon

The iSpace company built a space module that it hopes will reach the Moon in April 2023. To date, only the US, Russia and China have succeeded.


A space module built by a Japanese start-up company, which wants to become the first private device and also Japan to reach the Moon , was launched this Sunday from Cape Canaveral.

The launch was carried out by a SpaceX rocket from this Florida base, after two postponements due to additional verifications .

The lunar module, manufactured by the Tokyo company ispace , left on board a Falcon 9 rocket at 02:38 local time (0738 GMT), according to live images of the launch.

japanese landmark

Until now, only the United States, Russia and China have managed to place a robot on the surface of the Moon , located about 400 thousand km from Earth.

“Our first mission will lay the foundations to unlock the potential of the Moon and turn it into a solid and dynamic economic system,” said the president of the Japanese company, Takeshi Hakamada, in a statement.

Ispace , which has just about 200 employees, wants to launch “a frequent and low-cost shuttle service to the Moon .”

The mission is the first in a program called Hakuto – R , which means “white rabbit” in Japanese.

The company said it expects the lander to arrive on the near side of the Moon in April 2023, the year of the rabbit in Japan.

The module, just 2 meters by 2.5, includes a 10-kilogram probe built by the United Arab Emirates. If it reaches its destination, it will be the first mission of an Arab country to the Moon .

“Our objective is to transmit knowledge, develop our capabilities and leave a scientific legacy in the history of humanity,” said the Emirati Vice President Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Sunday.

Inside Artemis

The Japanese company also wants to contribute to NASA’s Artemis program , whose first unmanned mission is currently underway.

The North American space agency wants to develop the “lunar economy” by building a space station in orbit around the Moon in the next few years , and a base on its surface. (AFP)