ESA ground stations to support first commercial Moon landing

Mission 1 is the first mission of the HAKUTO-R lunar exploration programme from the company ispace, based in Tokyo, Japan, with offices in Luxembourg and the US. It will be launched into a low-energy transfer orbit by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to the Moon.

The journey will take three to five months and see the spacecraft venture out to deep space and back again. Once on the Moon, it will conduct a host of experiments in cooperation with various commercial and agency entities on Earth.

“This is exactly the future of lunar exploration that we are working towards,” says Rolf Densing, ESA Director of Operations.

“The mission will also provide ESA’s ground station teams with valuable experience for upcoming ESA and partner missions going to the Moon, such as Lunar Pathfinder and those of ESA’s Moonlight initiative.”

“We are pleased to be working with ESA and utilising their extensive tracking station network in support of our Mission 1 operations,” said Takeshi Hakamada, Founder & CEO of ispace.

“I believe this kind of international collaboration is vital to building a robust cislunar economy, as it opens the doors for companies like ours to contribute expertise to the future of commercialised space.”