Japanese Lunar Lander Startup ispace Raises $28M in Series B Funding

UTC by Wanguba Muriuki · 3 min read
Japanese Lunar Lander Startup ispace Raises $28M in Series B Funding
Photo: ispace / Facebook

The Japanese startup ispace which is planning several lunar lander missions has raised about $28 million in a Series B funding round to help it prepare for several missions to the Moon in the coming years.

A Japanese company that is planning several lunar lander missions has raised about $28 million in a Series B funding round. ispace is one of the startups working to put a private lunar lander on the Moon in the next few years. The acquired funds will enable the firm to complete the development of its first mission.

On August 20, 2020, an official report from ispace indicates that it will use the funding continue to create its lander planning for 2022 and 2023 launches. The Japanese startup also unveiled a new data platform business. This new business platform will leverage the lunar data that it will collect to provide other firms, research organizations, space agencies, and more with an informed planning basis.

The other institutions can then use the available data provided by ispace to plan for their Moon missions and eventual lunar commercial and private developments. This Series B funding round was led by IF SPV 1st Investment Partnership via their Incubate Fund. It includes funding by Mitsui Sumitomo, Takasago Thermal Engineering Co, and Space Frontier (a fund whose LPs include Mizuho Bank, Toyota, and more).

This exercise now brings the ispace’s total funding currently to $125 million, including a Series A round in December 2017 now valued at $95 million. The money will also help ispace develop a bigger version of its HAKUTO-R lunar lander. Reports indicate that the bigger lander will be put into use for the firm’s third and subsequent Moon missions.

ispace Lunar Data Business

The new lunar data business that ispace is creating will be called ‘Blueprint Moon’. It anticipates increasing investment in human presence on and even near the Moon. The commercialization of space up to now has focused on Earth’s orbital environment.

However, with NASA planning a spate of lunar missions and an orbital lunar space station, more developments will come in. NASA is also reportedly planning to set up sustained human surface activities on the Moon. There is also growing interest and investment from many other space agencies worldwide. That makes the lunar business a potentially huge investment opportunity in the future.

So far, ispace has already attracted many strategic commercial partners to support its lander franchise. Some of the notable partners include Takasago Thermal which will test its electrolysis tech on the Moon on future ispace missions and Mitsui Sumitomo which is developing a lunar insurance product that can underwrite future commercial Moon missions.

Blueprint Moon Operation

Blueprint Moon said that it will use publicly available lunar data and information acquired from future ispace surface missions. Takahiro Nakamura, chief operating officer of ispace, said:

“We aim to collect a wide variety of data types to provide to customers, and to support overall lunar development. Using this data, we can help customers plan their lunar missions.”

That data and information will help other agencies and businesses create similar research, business, and exploration opportunities in the future. These endeavors will also generate more near-term revenue for the startup while it focuses on more ambitious launches.

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