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Japanese startup ispace raises $28 million in new funding for private moon landings

The Japanese space startup ispace is launching a new "Blueprint Moon" data analysis service on top of its plans for private lunar landings after raising $28 million in new investments.

The Tokyo-based ispace announced the successful "series B" funding round and the launch of its Blueprint Moon business line during a news conference Wednesday (Aug. 19). The company, which was established as part of Google's Lunar X Prize competition, is planning to launch its first lunar lander mission in 2022.

"This new investment and launch of our new lunar data offering concept will not only support the steady development of ispace's business, but will also prove that ispace can lead globally in the development of the lunar economy, expanding humanity’s presence into space and creating a more sustainable world," Takeshi Hakamada, founder and CEO of ispace, said in a statement (opens in new tab).

Related: Amazing moon photos from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

An artist's depiction of the first ispace lander, scheduled to launch in 2022, on the moon. (Image credit: ispace)

The new round of investment brings ispace's total funding haul to $125 million, the company has said, although Hakamada declined to offer estimates for lunar lander costs or launch service fees during a call with media today (Aug. 20).

Although the bulk of the new investment will go to the first lander, called Hakuto-R, Hakamada said, it will also permit the company to beef up the lander for its third mission and beyond, increasing payload size from 66 lbs. (30 kilograms) to perhaps 220 lbs. to 330 lbs. (100 to 150 kg), depending on customer needs.

In addition to closing the investment round, the startup also announced the launch of its new data analysis business, dubbed Blueprint Moon. The initiative will analyze publicly available lunar data gathered by the space agencies of the U.S., Japan, Europe and India, among others, to assist with customers' commercial goals, including landed missions and resource utilization.

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Meghan is a senior writer at and has more than five years' experience as a science journalist based in New York City. She joined in July 2018, with previous writing published in outlets including Newsweek and Audubon. Meghan earned an MA in science journalism from New York University and a BA in classics from Georgetown University, and in her free time she enjoys reading and visiting museums. Follow her on Twitter at @meghanbartels.