#Asia #Japan 113: Japan Announces Plans to Land on The Moon by 2020


We startup founders and investors like to talk about “moonshots”. It points out startups that have huge dreams, those that are solving hard problems, and those that will actually change the world if they succeed.

Usually, the term moonshot is used metaphorically, but today I’d like to introduce you to a literal moonshot. Takeshi Hakamada, founder and CEO of iSpace, plans on landing commercial payloads on the moon in the next two years.

iSpace is in the process of developing lunar landers and lunar rovers, and they plan on using the increasingly inexpensive commercial launch companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin to send them to the moon.

ISpace has secured a partnership with Japan’s space agency, and they have attracted more than $90 million in investment.

It’s a great conversation and I think you’ll rally enjoy it.

Show Notes

Why Japan’s space program is being privatized
How a lunar lander can be commercially viable by 2020
An overview of iSpace’s first ten lunar missions
How much it costs to put one kilogram on the moon
What’s worth mining on the moon
What a lunar economy could look like
Why lunar advertising is a possibility

Links from the Founder

Check out iSpace
Connect with Takeshi on LinkedIn

 Leave a comment
Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs. I’m Tim Romero and thanks for joining me.
“Boys, be ambitious. Be ambitious not for money or selfish aggrandizement, not for that evanescent thing which men call fame. Be ambitious for the attainment of all that a man ought to be.”
That was a parting advice given in 1867 by William S. Clark to the students of what would become Hokkaido University. While Clark is not widely known in his home country of the United States, both he and the phrase “Boys, be ambitious” are legendary here in Japan.

And yet so few Japanese boys or girls, for that matter, really are ambitious, at least in the way that Clark intended it. Of course, many of Japan’s most ambitious boys are girls are the very ones out there starting startups, and today, I’d like to introduce you to the most ambitious Japanese startup in existence.

They are a literal moonshot company and they’ve just raised over $90 million to pursue that dream. Takeshi Hakamada, founder and CEO of iSpace plans on landing commercial payloads on the moon in the next two years.

Now, iSpace is not making rockets like SpaceX or Blue Origin, they’re creating lunar landers and lunar rovers, and they are making plans for a commercially viable lunar economy. I’ll let Takeshi tell you all about it.

Oh, but before I do, you should know about the Google Lunar X Prize. This was a global $25 million competition sponsored by Google and open to any companies that could land a rover on the moon and send data back to Earth. Now, no one ended up winning the main prize but Takeshi’s Hakuto project was one of the five companies from around the world that won an intermediate milestone prize.

But you know, Takeshi tells that story much better than I can, so let’s get right to the interview.



Tim: So we’re sitting here with Takeshi Hakamada of iSpace who is going to commercialize the moon with exploration mining and eventually tourism, so thanks for sitting down with me.

Takeshi: Thank you for having interview with me today.

Tim: I really appreciate this and I love big dreams, and I think that no company in Japan has bigger dreams than iSpace.

Takeshi: Really?

Tim: Yeah. Well, I mean, you’ve recently raised $90 million for a literal moonshot. Can you explain what you’re planning on doing?

Takeshi: We are trying to provide a commercial transportation service to the moon in the next few years. Starting from that service, we want to get into the mining business in space and then the human beings living in space. Our company vision is expand the planet, expand the future.

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