Japanese space startup iSpace Technologies Inc. has successfully raised $90 million in investments through a Series A financing round. The company says the funding will enable it to launch a spacecraft into lunar orbit by 2019, and eventually to offer a “projection mapping service” to advertise on the moon’s surface.
iSpace, founded in 2013 by Takeshi Hakamada, is an ambitious space exploration company that has its sights set on the resources available on the moon and in space. Specifically, the company is using 3D printing technologies to develop micro-robots capable of finding resources on the moon that could allow humans to stay and perhaps even settle on the moon.
As the Tokyo-based company says, “Our main focus is to locate, extract, and deliver lunar ice to customers in cis-lunar space.” Cis-lunar space, for those unfamiliar, refers to the area between the moon and the earth.
The recent investment round, which saw $90 million raised, was led by Japan Airlines Co. and Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings Inc., and included the Development Bank of Japan, Konica Minolta, Shimizy, Real Tech Fund, KDDI, Suzuki Motor, SPARX, Dentsu, and Toppan Printing.
As mentioned, the new funding will enable iSpace to launch two space missions. The first will be to send a spacecraft into lunar orbit by 2019, and the second will see that same ship land on the moon in 2020. The company’s investors will also provide support and technologies for the missions, including a projection mapping service, which will be a sort of billboard projection on the moon’s surface.