A new era of commercial lunar missions started Dec. 11 with the Falcon 9 launch of a Japanese lander mission that also carried a NASA cubesat.
Japan’s ispace expects SpaceX to launch its lunar lander Nov. 28 at the earliest for a mission to the moon’s surface roughly five months later.
Japanese lunar lander developer ispace is in the final phases of preparations for the launch of its first lunar lander mission, a flight that will include a NASA lunar cubesat mission as a secondary payload.
NASA’s Artemis 1 mission and a Japanese lander are set to launch to the moon from Florida within days of each other in November.
Newly-developed orbital and suborbital launch vehicles are being readied for test flights at the Jiuquan spaceport as China’s efforts to foster a commercial space sector advance.
An orbital launch attempt by Chinese startup iSpace ended in failure early Friday, following two failures last year.
Japanese lunar lander developer ispace said April 21 it is negotiating the world’s first insurance coverage for a commercial mission to the moon’s surface.
Agile Space Industries, a Durango, Colorado company focused on in-space chemical propulsion, is additively manufacturing thrusters for robotic lunar landers being built by Astrobotic Technology, ispace and Masten Space Systems.
A number of China’s emerging rocket companies have secured major funding rounds in recent weeks as competition to reach orbit intensifies.