Ventures that plan to get stuff into space at low prices are not hard to find. But service providers for those cut-price launchers are a new to El Reg.
Hence our interest in Japanese space upstart iSpace, which yesterday decided to start a new line of business offering a “data-centric platform through which the company aims to support customers with lunar market entry.”:
The plan is to collect lunar data from space agencies and its own planned lunar missions and “apply it to tools and applications, which can be provided as a service to potential customers (i.e., government space agencies, universities, research institutions, and private companies) for mission planning and lunar surface development.”
iSpace’s immediate lunar ambitions include two missions to Earth’s natural satellite, the first of which is a lunar lander scheduled to launch in 2022 and to offer commercial payloads of up to 30KG. A second mission scheduled for 2023 will deliver a rover. Both will include instruments to split water into oxygen and hydrogen, so that they can be used as fuel.
The company’s roadmap calls for its ninth mission to map lunar water resources and sell that data to others, while its tenth mission plans to “build an industrial platform that enables stable lunar development by utilizing the water resources available on the Moon.”
That’s all part of a vision that suggests than in 2040 a 1,000-strong lunar city will exist and host 10,000 visitors each year, all made possible by electrolysed lunar water. ®