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SpaceX to launch first Commercial Lunar Lander

The first commercial lunar lander will be launched by SpaceX.

With SpaceX’s next rocket launch on December 1, the competition for commercial activity on the moon enters a new chapter owing to a payload that will serve as the first private landing there.

Originally planned for the 30th of November, the launch of Japan’s iSpace’s Hakuto-R Mission 1 will now take place on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket in the wee hours of Thursday morning (per SpaceX).

The iSpace Series 1 lunar module, which is being hailed as the “first commercial lunar landing,” weighs 340 kg and has a payload capacity of 30 kilos, which could include everything from a remotely operated rover to scientific equipment.

The small lander is equipped with a temperature and radiation management assembly, safe cargo compartments, a three-thruster propulsion system, and equipment for adjusting altitude.

ispace plans to regularly carry payloads to the moon in the foreseeable future if all goes according to plan with Hakuto-R Mission 1.

The corporation is predicting a 3-5 month window for transporting lunar cargo utilizing the low-energy orbital route in order to reduce fuel expenditures based on the technology at its disposal.

iSpace has established a total of 10 goals, commencing with the successful completion of all pre-flight procedures and continuing with the Moon landing, creating a reliable communication path, and guaranteeing a constant supply of electricity for the cargo.

iSpace Lunar Lander
An artist’s depiction of the Japanese iSpace Lunar rover. Image courtesy of iSpace.

The objectives of Missions 2 and 3, all of which are a part of NASA’s Artemis program, will be modified in light of the first mission’s success.

Commercialization of space has begun

The corporation is already contracted by NASA under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) Program, which requires them to land a spacecraft on the far side of the lunar surface by the year 2025.

NASA and the company have come to separate agreements about mining and delivering lunar regolith, and the company is also working with the European Space Agency to collect water from Earth’s natural satellite.

Takeshi Hakamada, the company’s president, claims that by using tried-and-true technology and components from all over the globe, iSpace “used a design and development strategy that matched dependability and affordability.”

You may look at the Hakuto-R Mission 1 plans and information on SpaceX’s upcoming launch here. Here you may see the launch of iSpace Mission 1.

However, iSpace is not the only business vying for market share in the space industry, nor is it the most aggressive.

Arab Lunar Rover
An artist’s depiction of the UAE’s planned moon rover seen on the lunar surface. (Image credit: MBRSC)

A little more than a year ago, NASA made headlines when it famously paid Lunar Outpost $0.10 for mining and sending lunar surface samples to the space agency. In order to deploy a 4G LTE payload to the Moon, Lunar Outpost is also collaborating with Nokia.

Orbital Reef, a personal space station, is being built by Jeff Bezos-backed Blue Origin with a $130 million contract, which was announced last year.

Similar goals were the focus of contracts awarded to Nanoracks and Northrop Grumman, valued at $160 million and $125.6 million, respectively.

On the contrary, SpaceX has emerged as the go-to supplier of launch services for both commercial and government-sponsored space organizations.

UPDATE: The Hakuto-R lunar lander from Japan and its United Arab Emirates rover was scheduled to be launched early on Wednesday morning (Nov. 30) by SpaceX, but they were later canceled.

On Wednesday, November 30, the immediate launch window was set for 3:39 a.m. (0839 GMT), however, SpaceX confirmed the cancellation a little over four hours before to launch in a tweet.  Ispace’s HAKUTO-R Mission 1 will not launch in order to accommodate more pre-flight checks, according to company executives.

The launch will now take place from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Thursday, December 1 at 3:37 a.m. EST (0837 GMT), within a new instantaneous window.

With inputs from Slashgear &

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Written by Alex Bruno

Freelance space writer Alex Bruno specializes in covering China's quickly expanding space industry. In 2021, he started writing for SpaceXMania. He also contributes to publications including SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist. When Alex was a small child, he first experienced the space bug after seeing Voyager photographs of alien planets in our solar system. When not in space, Alex likes to go trail jogging in the Finnish countryside.

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