Tokyo-based start-up, ispace, has raised $90 million from several Japanese companies, including Japan Airlines Co. And TV network Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings Inc. The company has announced on Wednesday that it will use the money to send a spacecraft into lunar orbit by 2019, and then land in 2020.
Ispace has set a new record in Japan, for the most money received by a start-up in the seeding phase of a business, commonly called the „Series A” phase. Takeshi Hakamada, the start-up’s CEO, said that their lunar lander will pave the way for a flexible and highly-trafficked lunar transportation system. In addition, they want to establish a beacon for exploration and development of the lunar surface via micro-robotic systems.
„We’re going to bring scientific instruments to the moon, and then seel the right to use our data to space agencies and other institutions, as well as provide transportation services, for profit.” said the ispace CEO.
However, before undertaking such a revolutionary endeavor, ispace needs to make its backing companies happy. Ispace wants to place a billboard where companies can pay to advertise their product to a population of billions. Their future spacecrafts and rovers will also have various corporate logos attached to the sides.
Ispace estimates that one thousand people will be living on the moon by 2021. More so, they predict that with their help, that number will increase ten times each year.
While Hakamada is currently set on providing a new advertising venue for companies, he wants his company to create a sustainable eco-system on the Moon.
Google is currently holding a $30 million competition called Lunar XPRIZE, with the winner being the first team to reach the moon. Not only that, but they will also have to travel 500 meters across its surface and take photos. While ispace is involved in the competition, Hakamada said their latest investment is not for the Lunar XPRIZE but rather for resource utilization on the moon.
Image Source: WikipediaCommons