After tracing a roundabout, energyefficient trajectory, its expected to reach the surface of Atlas Crater on the southeastern outer edge of Mare Frigorisat about 1240 pm Eastern time Tuesday, which is 140 am Wednesday morning in Japan. (Moon time is not a thing yet.) Sticking the landing would make Ispace a leading player in a nascent lunar aerospace industry, as many companies, mostly based in the US, are planning their own landers, rovers, and payloads.
We are the first commercial lunar lander, and Im really happy with this, says Ryo Ujiie, Ispaces chief technology officer. The important thing is to complete this mission and learn from it.Technically, Ispace isnt making the firstattempt to set down a private craft on the moon.In 2019, the nonprofit Israeli organization SpaceIL senta privately funded lander called Beresheet, but itcrashed, along with a payload that included human DNA samples and thousands oftardigrades, tiny water bears that can survive almost anywhere.
The Ispace lander comes equipped with a large, 400Newton thruster and six additional thrusters, enabling a controlled descent to the surface.
The company chose its landing site so that engineers at mission control in Tokyo will be able to maintain visual contact and communication with the lander.
While this mission is a technology demonstration, M1 will arrive carrying payloads, including 360degree cameras from a Canadian company and rovers from the Japanese space agency and the United Arab Emirates.
The Ispace lander snapped a photo of the moon while in lunar orbit.
Courtesy of iSpace
Its poised to be the first commercial lander to set its robotic feet there, with competitors sure to follow.
The Tokyobased company Ispace lofted itsM1 lander on December 11, 2022.