Japanese space company ispace has invested over $40 million in its new U.S. subsidiary, ispace technologies U.S. The company aims to capitalize on the increasing investment from NASA and the Pentagon in moon technologies. The CEO of ispace, Takeshi Hakamada, emphasized the organization’s strong commitment to the U.S. market and expects the investment to grow further. The U.S. subsidiary, based in Denver, Colorado, currently employs more than eighty people and is headed by former NASA astronaut Ronald J. Garan.
ispace has also introduced a new lander called Apex 1.0, which will replace the previous lander iteration, Series 2. Apex 1.0 is designed for short trajectory flights to the moon and has a carrying capacity of up to 300 kilograms, a significant increase compared to ispace’s first lander, Series 1. Apex 1.0 will be used in ispace’s third mission, in collaboration with Draper Laboratory, to deliver payloads to the far side of the moon for NASA. The mission’s schedule was delayed from 2025 to 2026 due to the transition from the Series 2 lander design to Apex 1.0.
The consortium of Draper, ispace, General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems, and Systima Technologies, known as Team Draper, won a $73 million contract under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. This program aims to support commercial companies in landing a commercial lander on the moon. The updated schedule enables Team Draper and ispace-U.S. to strategically accommodate sensitive payloads, leveraging Apex 1.0’s enhanced capabilities for the technically challenging landing location on the far side of the moon. The introduction of Apex 1.0 will provide a significant boost to ispace’s capacity for lunar missions, following the unfortunate impact of the Series 1 lander in April.