On 25 April 2023, the International Space University MSS23 students, faculty, and staff gathered in the Galaxy auditorium at ISU Central Campus where a special guest, ISU alum Mr. Satoru Kurosu (ESC19, ISP20), founder and CEO of Cross Space & Sustainability and Executive Mentor for Space Business Development Office at Yokogawa Electric Corporation – a company supporting ispace, inc.’s HAKUTO-R program – was waiting for them, to comment and watch the Japanese lunar exploration company ispace, inc. attempt to land its first mission on the moon, HAKUTO-R Mission 1.
After launching on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on 11 December 2022, HAKUTO-R reached the lunar orbit in March. ispace, inc. lost communication with the spacecraft only a few meters from the lunar surface, missing the opportunity to softly touch down around 12:40 p.m. ET in the Atlas Crater.
The UAE rover – Rashid – was on board the lunar lander HAKUTO-R.
We know the effort these teams have put into this project. ispace, inc. teams already achieved the feat of conducting a private space mission a few tens of meters from the lunar surface, and incredible milestones along the way.
Special shout out to all ISU alumni working or having worked on or around this mission including amongst others:
Scott Moon, Jenna Tiwana, Charlotte Nassey, Kyle Acierno, Joshua Rasera, Vinita Marwaha Madill, Marine Joulaud
The Japanese consul Mr. Yasunori ITO who visited International Space University for the occasion, witnessed with the ISU students, this NewSpace paradigm shift towards privately funded exploration companies servicing public and private customers.
ispace, inc. was one of five finalist teams (with SpaceIL ISU alum Yoav Landsman – landing on the Moon attempt in 2019 with Beresheet – Moon Express, Synergy Moon, LLC, and Team Indus) in the Google Lunar XPRIZE race, a prize initiated by ISU’s own co-founder Dr. Peter H. Diamandis.
ispace, inc. CEO Takeshi Hakamada said:
“We will keep going — never quit the lunar quest.”
Looking forward to HAKUTO-R M2 (2024) and HAKUTO-R M3 (2025)!
Cover picture credit: space, inc, HAKUTO-R M1
Inside picture: from left to right, Japanese consul Mr. Yasunori ITO, ESC19 & ISP20 Mr. Satoru Kurosu, ISU Associate Professor
Research Facilitator – Astronomy – Dr. Bertrand Goldman