Japanese Startup ispace Reveals 'Resilience': Next-Gen Lander for Lunar Redemption

Japanese Startup ispace Reveals ‘Resilience’: Next-Gen Lander for Lunar Redemption

After crash landing on the moon last year, Japanese startup ispace is picking up the pieces and gearing up for attempt number two. The company just offered a sneak peek of its next-gen lunar lander slated to launch toward the moon in late 2024.

Dubbed “Resilience,” the new lander aligns with ispace’s motto “Never Quit the Lunar Quest.” Their last mission ended in tragedy when a navigation error caused the spacecraft to fatally plummet into the lunar surface in early 2023.

But ispace isn’t letting that failure keep them down for long. Resilience will build on what they learned, with upgraded software and design tweaks to ace the touchy landing this time.

And it looks like they’ll have some robotic company on this trip. Along with the lander, ispace plans to deploy a tiny rover built by their European division to scoot around on the moon’s surface and snap photos.

At just 10 inches high and 11 pounds, it’s far smaller than the last 2,200 pound lander. But it’ll still collect valuable data and lunar soil samples.

Beyond that, ispace has even bigger ambitions in the works. Their third mission slated for 2026 will use a larger lander called Apex 1.0, capable of hauling over 1,000 pounds of payload.

This lander is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, so it’ll carry science experiments and technology demonstrations to the moon’s polar regions.

ispace also recently scored nearly $100 million in funding from the Japanese government aimed at developing and testing their lunar landers. So they’ve got financial rocket fuel to power more missions.

It’s great to see ispace undaunted by early setbacks. Their scrappy startup spirit and upgraded lander design could very well land them on the moon as early as next year.