Tokyo-based space startup ispace, inc. plans to launch a spacecraft for a moon landing by 2021 using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, having concluded a relevant contract with the U.S. rocket company, the Japanese firm announced Wednesday.
Under the plan, the Minato Ward, Tokyo-based startup is scheduled to test the technology needed to put the spacecraft, currently under development, into the moon’s orbit in mid-2020 and to have it land on the moon in mid-2021.
The 3.5-meter-high, about 350-kilogram lander will carry two rovers — weighing about 10 kilograms — that are supposed to probe the moon’s surface for two weeks.
Financial corporations such as public-private investment fund Innovation Network Corp. of Japan and the Development Bank of Japan have contributed approximately ¥10 billion in funding to the plan, the Tokyo company said.
“We want to develop a thrilling and exciting project,” ispace founder and CEO Takeshi Hakamada said at a press conference on Wednesday.