ispace Opening New U.S. Office to Support Artemis, Hires Program Director

9 Nov, 2020

The lunar exploration company plans for active job creation in the Denver Metropolitan Area

Denver, Colorado – Today, ispace, inc. (ispace) announced that it has selected Colorado as the location for its newest office. The company will open its new U.S.-based workplace in the Denver metropolitan area.

In making the decision, ispace worked with SelectUSA, a program in the U.S. Department of Commerce that provides assistance to foreign companies expanding into the U.S. market. After thorough consideration among a competitive list of locations around the United States, ispace selected Colorado as its place of operation, primarily due to the access to talent in the state, especially as the company plans to swiftly proceed with staffing a full engineering team, along with other positions.

The first of these hires is Kursten O’Neill, who joins ispace following seven years at SpaceX, where she managed new product introduction for the rocket manufacturer’s fleet of Falcon vehicles for several years. At ispace, Kursten will assume the role of U.S. Lander Program Director, leading engineering for the next generation design of ispace’s lunar lander; larger than the current model, the lander is intended to be used for the company’s Mission 3 and beyond. The plan is for that model to be designed, manufactured, and launched in the United States.

Recently, the company announced that it appointed Kyle Acierno as its U.S. CEO. Over the past five years, Kyle has been instrumental in expanding ispace’s global presence, performing as the Managing Director of ispace Europe, and leading ispace’s Global Sales Group from Tokyo, Japan.

ispace’s plans to invest and develop robust operations in the U.S. is driven by its objective to partner with The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to further its lunar exploration objectives, such as through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, and other opportunities. ispace is currently involved in a strategic partnership with the Massachusetts-based R&D non-profit, Draper, as part of “Team Draper” to compete in the CLPS program; through this collaboration, ispace would assume the role as a subcontractor and design agent to Draper once Draper, the prime contractor, were to be selected by NASA to carry its payloads to the Moon.

This announcement comes just weeks after eight nations, including Japan and Luxembourg, signed an agreement with the United States to join the Artemis Accords, an international agreement on the principles for cooperation in the civil exploration and use of the Moon. ispace believes, with its expansion into the U.S. market, as well as its existing presence in Luxembourg, the company will be even better positioned to support ongoing and future collaborations on lunar exploration among the United States, Japan, and Luxembourg.

ispace is currently making strong progress on its Mission 1 and Mission 2 preparations. The lander design for Mission 1 will be completed this year and move into the assembly, integration, and testing (AIT) phase early next year. Building upon this heritage, ispace is well equipped to take the next steps in its business by planning for its next generation lander and Mission 3. This timeline will allow ispace to offer high-frequency lunar transportation to customers.

In addition to supporting the Artemis program, ispace is also looking forward to opportunities to support the broader U.S. commercial space sector, as well as terrestrial American companies with their lunar exploration interests. Likewise, ispace aims to collaborate with American companies to build a thriving lunar ecosystem in the years ahead.


■ “We are thrilled to welcome ispace to the United States. Their innovative work advancing human space exploration highlights the importance of commercial partnerships in establishing a sustainable human presence on the Moon, and eventually Mars. Companies like ispace are driving the commercial space industry towards its trillion dollar potential,” said Kevin O’Connell, Director, NOAA Office of Space Commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce.

■ “Colorado is a proven leader in the aerospace sector and one of the best places to live and to start or run a business. ispace joins Adams County’s Spaceport and Colorado Springs’ Space Command to further reinforce that the path to space exploration and the good paying jobs that come with it goes through Colorado,” said Governor Jared Polis.

■ We are very pleased to begin active operations in the U.S., which is spearheading the global momentum toward lunar exploration. We believe we can provide value to the U.S. by complementing the deep US-Japan collaboration on lunar exploration as a commercial services provider operating in both countries,” said Takeshi Hakamada, Founder & CEO of ispace.

■ I couldn’t be more excited to work closer with our friends and partners in the U.S. to contribute to the success of the Artemis program and the formation of a lunar economy. We deeply appreciate the support we received at the state and federal level with our U.S. entry and selection of Colorado, which not only has a dynamic aerospace ecosystem and an abundance of talent, but is also becoming a hub for lunar landers and ISRU technology,” said Kyle Acierno, CEO of ispace technologies U.S..

■ “I truly believe exploring the Moon, Mars and beyond is our destiny as a human race; the uniting factor to further our presence among the stars. By joining ispace to lead our US Lander mission to the Moon, I’m excited to bring together the best and brightest to innovate, create and inspire an even larger shift in aerospace advancement and exploration,” said Kursten O’Neill, ispace’s U.S. Lander Program Director.

ispace, inc. (

ispace is a lunar exploration company with over 100 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 has raised a cumulative total investment of approximately $125 million (USD) in investment. The funding is being used to build a small commercial lunar lander, which aims to provide a high-frequency, low-cost delivery service to the Moon. 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.


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