ispace (Japanese company)
ispace Inc. is a private Japanese company developing robotic spacecraft technologies to discover, map, and use the natural resources on the Moon. They will start by exploring the exploitation of lunar water in order to create a sustainable infrastructure and a Moon-based economy. ispace's long-term strategy is to build landers and rovers to compete for both transportation and exploration mission contracts from space agencies and private industry.
|Lunar robotic spacecraft|
|Predecessor||White Label Space|
|Founded||September 10, 2010 in Tokyo, Japan|
|Products||Robotic lunar landers and rovers|
Number of employees
|50  (2018)|
From 2013 until 2018 ispace was the owner and operator of the Hakuto team that competed in Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP). The team developed a lunar rover named Sorato, that is intended to scout for water and explore other potential local resources on the Moon.
Although ispace is now independent, it began as a partner of a European organization called White Label Space. White Label Space (WLS) was an international team of space engineers that was founded in 2008 to compete in the Google Lunar X Prize, for a grand prize of $20 million to send a spacecraft to the Moon's surface, and have it travel 500 meters. WLS was headquartered in the Netherlands and led by Steve Allen. The European side aimed to develop the team's lunar lander while the Japanese group consisting of Tohoku University Space Robotics Lab and led by Kazuya Yoshida was to develop a rover. 
In 2010, White Label Space Japan LLC, the predecessor of ispace was founded by Takeshi Hakamada to manage the commercial and technical aspect of the Japanese group. In January 30, 2013, when the European teammates ceased substantial involvement in the prize, the Japan-based members decided to continue the work, and WLS transferred the GLXP participation right to White Label Space Japan LLC. Steve Allen, WLS's leader was succeeded by Takeshi Hakamada.
In May 2013, the team's parent company, White Label Space Japan changed its name to ispace, while the GLXP team was renamed "Hakuto" in July 15 of the same year.
Team Hakuto did not succeed in undertaking a lunar mission during the GLXP but following the cessation of the competition ispace continued its lunar exploration plans and in 2018 the company succeeded in raising over US$90 million in private funding (see Investors) to develop its own lunar lander in addition to continuing its work on lunar rovers.
On 10 October, 2018, a industry team formed by Draper Laboratory, along with ispace, General Atomics, and Spaceflight Industries submitted a proposal for a commercial lunar lander to NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program. According to Draper, ispace will serve as the team's design agent.
The long-term strategy of ispace is to build landers and rovers to compete for both transportation and exploration mission contracts from space agencies and private industry. They aim at mining lunar water and other resources to support a future Moon-based infrastructure.
The first demonstration mission includes a small rover called Sorato which is planned to be delivered to the lunar surface by the Peregrine lander built Astrobotic Technology, to be launched on an Atlas V rocket in 2020. The second demonstration mission includes a lander currently being designed by ispace, that would deploy a number of small rovers. The lander would be launched as a secondary payload on a commercial launch vehicle.
If the technology validations are successful, ispace plans to offer a regular series of lander missions to carry up to 30 kilograms (66 lb) of customer payloads per flight. The company also plans to collect a wide variety of data about the Moon's environment, which they plan to sell to its customers.
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