This mission of the Japanese company ispace is the first in the Hakuto-R program. According to the company, the device will land around April 2023 on the visible side of the moon, in the Atlas crater.
The size of the device is just over 2×2.5 meters. On board is the 10-kilogram Rashid lunar rover built by the United Arab Emirates.
“We have accomplished a lot in the six short years since we first started conceptualizing this project in 2016,” said ispace CEO Takeshi Hakamada.
Hakuto was one of five finalists in the international Google Lunar XPrize competition. The goal was to land the lunar rover on the Earth satellite before the deadline in 2018.
The competition ended without a winner, but some projects are still ongoing.
ispace, which has just 200 employees, says it “is committed to expanding the scope of human life in space and creating a sustainable world by providing low-cost transportation services to the moon.”
US companies Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines are also due to launch to the moon in 2023, and they could arrive at their destination ahead of ispace by taking a more direct route.
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