Ispace gets a new payload for its first NASA lunar landing mission

Capitalism in space: The Japanese company Ispace has won a contract with the European company Control Data Systems (CDS) to place CDS’s precise localization instrument on Ispace’s APEX lunar lander, its first NASA mission.

CDS’s technology, which combines precision localization with telecommunications, uses Ultra-Wideband for determining precise positions and was developed specifically for space applications with support from the European Space Agency. The lack of a GPS-like system on the Moon, makes the technology ground-breaking for future applications related to lunar exploration.

The agreement … also represents the first Romanian payload to be delivered to the lunar surface. The technology will be integrated into the APEX 1.0 lunar lander as part of ispace technologies U.S. (ispace-U.S.) Mission 3, currently scheduled for 2026. A lunar rover will transport the CDS equipment on the surface to test the localization technology using an antenna that will remain on the APEX 1.0 lander.

Though Ispace is based in Japan, it has divisions in both the U.S. and Europe, which is allowing it to sign contracts with NASA and companies in both locations.