The mission is scheduled for 2020.
Private Japanese company ispace agreed with SpaceX on the transportation of their spacecraft on the lunar surface. Two missions scheduled for 2020 and 2021 and will serve as a demonstration of technological capabilities of a company that has big ambitions to become the delivery service of goods on Earth.
The first of two missions ispace is to send the spacecraft into lunar orbit. If it is successful, the company will proceed to the second mission, in which the surface of the moon will leave the lander and the Rover for surface exploration. All vehicles will be delivered to high orbit rockets, the Falcon 9, the rest of the way they will overcome on their own.
Earlier, the ispace team took part in the contest Google Lunar X Prize, the purpose of which was sending to the moon the first commercial spacecraft. In the framework of this competition the company has established a Long Lunokhod, which means “white rabbit”. But this year, the X Prize was cancelled, as none of the participants invested in a set timeframe.
However, for future missions ispace is planning to use a modernized version of a Long. Rover became more powerful, and can move over longer distances and carry more cargo. It is also equipped with a sensor to search for water. As for the lander, it will be a whole new machine. It was originally planned to use a module of another team competition X Prize TeamIndus, but in the end it was decided to create a unit, the concept of ispace which is demonstrated at the end of last year.
Before the lander and the Rover will go to the moon, the company will attempt to launch the spacecraft into lunar orbit, where it will be in 1-2 months. During this time, the experts will check in its navigation system and will take some pictures of the moon’s surface and send them to the Ground. The ship design was recently approved by a group of experts from the space agencies of Japan, and the company has already started its Assembly. The first tests scheduled for spring 2019.
To Finance the first mission ispace will use the $95 million collected through the crowdfunding campaign. In the end, ispace hopes to create a sustainable space infrastructure, delivering cargo to the moon and use water found on the Earth’s satellite as a resource for future space travel. Meanwhile, several other X Prize finalists are also planning to send landers to the moon in the next two years. It is the Israeli team SpaceIL and American Astrobotic.
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