The ispace’s micro rover for Hakuto-R M2, computer rendering. Credits: ispace.

ispace Micro Rover Qualified For The New Lunar Mission

The qualification model of the ispace lunar Micro Rover passed environmental tests, proving that its design can endure the launch and operating conditions

On April 10, 2024, ispace Europe S.A. announced the completion of the environmental tests for its lunar Micro Rover qualification model. The vehicle design proved ready to survive the launch solicitations, the space environment, and the Moon’s surface conditions.

On the occasion, Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA Director of Human and Robotic Exploration, visited the company facilities in Luxembourg, where he saw the project’s progress.

“Witnessing firsthand the development of this cutting-edge lunar exploration micro rover, here in the heart of Europe, highlights the potential of human ingenuity and international cooperation of the Luxembourg industry. ESA very much looks forward to this new piece of European engineering to potentially add to our international lunar exploration effort.” Neuenschwander said.


Luxembourg Space Agency and ispace Europe together for ISRU

The main mission of the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) is to enable technology development for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), by establishing the economic and legal framework necessary to manage space activities by governments and private actors.

As part of the agency strategy, LSA co-founded the ispace Micro Rover project with ESA, through the Luxembourg National Space Programme, LuxIMPULSE.

An ispace Europe engineer poses with a model of a moon rover being tested in Luxembourg. Credits: ispace
An ispace Europe engineer poses with a model of a moon rover undergoing testing in Luxembourg. Credits: ispace

The little Moon wanderer will be a frontrunner in ISRU, collecting lunar regolith with its customized shovel and enabling the first sale of space material. In 2020, NASA awarded ispace a contract to acquire regolith from the lunar surface, and the Micro Rover will allow the company to fulfill the contract. This sale will be legally possible by exercising the Luxembourg law on the Exploration and Use of Space Resources.


Hakuto-R Mission 2, the next challenge for space

The second mission to the Moon has been developed based on the lessons of Mission 1, taking care of the data collected to ensure a successful soft landing on the surface. The Micro Rover will be one of the key payloads of the lander.

ispace’s lander and micro rover of Hakuto-R M2 on the lunar surface. Credits: ispace
ispace’s lander and micro rover of Hakuto-R M2 on the lunar surface. Credits: ispace

The company plans to launch Hakutor-R Mission 2 by the end of 2024. To reach this goal, the Luxembourg-based subsidiary of ispace, inc. will deliver the qualification model to the company facility in Tsukuba, Japan, to run integration tests with Hakuto-R Resilience, the lander for the second Lunar mission (Hakuto-R Mission 2). Meanwhile, the final Micro Rover flight model will be built and tested in the Luxembourg facility, aiming to integrate it into Resilience in the summer of 2024.


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Giancarlo Albertinazzi

Giancarlo Albertinazzi

Space Ambassador, Terranaut, Future Spacepolitan, Writer of Becoming Spacepolitans Blog

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