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The race to be the first one in space and then on the Moon was a contest between the USA and the Soviet Union. Today though, the race to be the first to commercialize space travel and make it feasible for tourists is practically anybody’s race, including private players.

We have heard about space agencies and aeronautical firms partnering to make the world’s first space hotel. Now, we have an up-and-coming startup from Japan that wants to establish a courier service in space. Want to send a parcel or a binding document to someone in space? Well, in a few years, you can.

ISpace Inc., a Tokyo-based company, plans to launch a lunar lander by the end of this month that will carry a variety of commercial and governmental payloads, including two rovers.

The goal of this firm is to establish a human population on the Moon by 2040, but before then, it wants to transform one of its modules on the Moonintos into a courier and logistical lunar hub. The aim is to make money by transporting commercial products and research equipment up in space on behalf of research institutes, private players, and certain government agencies.

ISpace’s first trip will test the technological capabilities it has developed since its creation in 2010 and the trust of its investors. The Japan Times reported that a lot depends on its success, including the possibility of an IPO as early as this fiscal year and a chance to take a larger piece of the space tourism and commercial logistics industry, which Morgan Stanley predicts would triple to $1 trillion in two decades from 2020.

The mission that ISpace Inc. is a part of is called the Hakuto-R lunar exploration program, which essentially means “white rabbit” in Japanese, and includes a moon lander mission from the Japanese space and research agency. ISpace plans to launch at least ten missions to the Moon before they can start constructing their “sorting hub.”

One of the highest costs for private players like ISpace has been the fuel costs associated with a flight to the Moon. Space crafts burn a lot of fuel when taking off and landing on the Moon’s surface. ISpace claims they have a new way to land on the Moon, which would significantly reduce the fuel consumed while landing on the Moon. This new system uses the Moon’s gravity for propulsion.

The startup claims that fuel costs can be decreased by using the Moon’s gravity as propulsion. The success of ISpace’s mission will also be necessary for Japan’s space program as the Moon once again becomes the center of global interest.

The launch will take place from Cape Canaveral in Florida and use a Falcon 9 rocket constructed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

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