Japan’s ispace Launch World’s First Commercial Moon Lander


ispace, a Japanese space startup has sent off a rocket to the moon after many postponements, a stage toward what might be a first shuttle for a privately owned business and country. After two delays brought on by inspections of ispace Inc.’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the HAKUTO-R mission launched without incident from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

At a viewing party in Tokyo, more than a hundred people watched the rocket launch as it flew into the night sky. People who attended the gathering said that they were so happy and that, after numerous delays, it was good to have a proper launch.

In the past 50 years, soft landings on Earth’s nearest neighbors have been achieved by the national space agencies of Russia, China, and the United States, but not by businesses. At a time when China is becoming more competitive and Russian rockets are no longer available due to the war between Russia and Ukraine, the success of the mission would also be a milestone in space cooperation between the United States and Japan.

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According to iSpace, the name HAKUTO is a reference to the white rabbit, which is believed to live on the moon in Japanese folklore, as opposed to the notion of a western man living there. The venture project had been a finalist in the Google Lunar XPRIZE prior to being resuscitated as a business organization.


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