27 May, 2021
Awardees each individually chose ispace to transport lunar payloads or acquire lunar data during the company’s ‘Mission 1’ planned to launch in 2022
Tokyo, Japan, May 27 – Today, ispace, inc. (ispace) announced that it has been selected by three Canadian companies to carry out lunar transportation or lunar data acquisition services. The three companies—which include Mission Control Space Services Inc. (Mission Control), Canadensys Aerospace (Canadensys), and NGC Aerospace Ltd (NGC)—were announced as the three first awarded contributions for the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) Capability Demonstration opportunity as part of the agency’s Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP). All three of the awarded companies have chosen ispace to carry out critical services for their respective missions. Each of the CSA-awardee companies selected ispace based on the company’s technical credibility to succeed in the required mission.
Recently, Mission Control and ispace signed a contract under which ispace will provide lunar payload delivery services for Mission Control. Under the agreement, an artificial intelligence (AI) flight computer will be installed as a payload on ispace’s lunar lander and transported to the Moon during the company’s ‘Mission 1’ planned to launch in 2022. More details about that cooperation can be found here (click link).
Canadensys and ispace have a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) stating an intention for ispace to provide lunar payload delivery services for Canadensys. Under the MoU, multiple cameras will be installed as payloads on ispace’s lunar lander and transported to the Moon during the company’s ‘Mission 1’ where they are intended to capture key events during the mission.
NGC and ispace have signed an MoU under which ispace will utilize a camera to acquire lunar imagery data for demonstration of NGC’s crater-based autonomous navigation system during ispace’s ‘Mission 1’. This MoU will be one of ispace’s first transactions in relation to the company’s lunar data business, which was announced last summer with the concept name, Blueprint Moon.
ispace is in the process of finalizing contracts to provide payload delivery services for Canadensys and for a data acquisition service for NGC, respectively.
● Takeshi Hakamada, Founder & CEO, ispace: “We are honored that all three of the companies awarded by CSA have each entrusted ispace’s services to carry out their operations on the lunar surface. We see this as a show of the trust that ispace has developed with CSA over the past years, as well as a recognition of ispace’s positive position in the North American market.”
● Ewan Reid, President & CEO, Mission Control Space Services: “ispace has emerged as a leader in the commercial race to the Moon. Mission Control is confident in their ability to execute this cutting edge mission and in doing so help us demonstrate state of the art technology for operating lunar rovers.”
● Christian Sallabarger, CEO, Canadensys Aerospace: We are pleased to be working with i-space on their first lunar lander mission and are delighted that our lunar cameras will be the imagers that capture key moments on the mission, from descent and landing to the first images from the lunar surface, as well as monitoring the deployment of several payloads from the lander and capturing these historic moments for i-space and its international and commercial mission partners.
● Jean de Lafontaine, President, NGC: “The images ispace will acquire for NGC will enable the validation of our crater-based navigation software, a “GPS-like” technology that can autonomously determine with high accuracy the position of an orbiter or a lander using Moon craters as navigational references. This collaboration with ispace will be a great step forward in NGC’s strategic development for planetary exploration.”
■ About Mission Control (https://missioncontrolspaceservices.com/)
Mission Control is a space exploration and robotics company with a focus on mission operations, onboard autonomy and artificial intelligence. We develop end-to-end robotic command and control software. Our technology allows customers to operate and automate robots deployed in harsh and remote environments – like the Moon, Mars or even here on Earth – improving the autonomy, productivity, safety, and scientific return of missions. We are also committed to inspiring the next generation of explorers through our immersive technology-based education program, Mission Control Academy, which allows students to operate a real rover as if it were on Mars. How can we help you navigate the NewSpace landscape?
■ About Canadensys Aerospace (http://www.canadensys.com/)
Canadensys Aerospace is a space systems company with a focus on low-cost, high reliability missions from Earth orbit out to cislunar space and beyond. Canadensys supports both government and commercial missions worldwide with small, low-cost systems specifically tailored for performance and longevity beyond Earth orbit. We are dedicated to the new era of space exploration where more stakeholders than ever before participate in the expansion and development of space, and our focus is on ensuring their missions can explore farther, last longer, and accomplish more while remaining commercially and socioeconomically viable. From our micro-class rovers that will explore ice-rich polar regions of the Moon to our 360° lunar cameras that equip even the smallest spacecraft with modern situational-awareness and enable a new generation of explorers to experience missions as they happen, our commitment is to a more accessible space. After all, space already belongs to everyone. We’re just working hard to bring it a little closer.
■ About NGC Aerospace Ltd (ngcaerospace.com)
NGC Aerospace’s mission is shaping the future of autonomous exploration through ingenuity, knowledge and collaboration. NGC is designing and deploying the computer intelligence of mobile systems with the aim of increasing their autonomy, performance, reliability and safety while reducing their development and operational costs. The mobile systems of interest include Earth satellites, planetary orbiters, landers, rovers and pilotless aerial vehicles. NGC’s guidance, navigation and control software has cumulated 45 years of successful operation in orbit and has contributed to the technologies enabling the high autonomy, agility and accuracy of future aerospace systems.
■ About ispace, inc. (https://ispace-inc.com/)
ispace is a lunar exploration company with over 130 staff and offices in Japan, Europe and the United States. Founded in 2010, ispace managed Team HAKUTO, one of the 5 finalists in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. The company is building a small commercial lunar lander, which aims to provide a high-frequency, low-cost delivery service to the Moon, as well as a lunar rover for surface exploration. Aspiring to be a gateway for the private sector to bring their business to the Moon, ispace has also launched a lunar data business concept to support companies with lunar market entry. ispace is part of a team led by Draper, which was selected by NASA to compete in its Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) Program, and ispace Europe was selected by ESA to be part of the Science Team for PROSPECT, a program which seeks to extract water on the Moon.
■ About HAKUTO-R (https://ispace-inc.com/hakuto-r/)
HAKUTO-R is a multinational commercial lunar exploration program operated by ispace. It includes ispace’s first two lunar missions: Mission 1, a soft lunar landing planned to launch in 2022, and Mission 2, a lunar landing and deployment of a rover planned to launch in 2023. For both missions, the HAKUTO-R lander is planned to launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The program aspires to lay the groundwork for high-frequency lunar transportation. Corporate Partners of HAKUTO-R include Japan Airlines, Suzuki Motors, Citizen Watch, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, NGK Spark Plug, Takasago Thermal Engineering, Sumitomo Corporation, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. Media Partners for HAKUTO-R include TBS, Asahi Shimbun, and Shogakukan.
 Planned as of May 2021.
 Planned as of May 2021.
 Planned as of May 2021.
 Planned as of May 2021.