Team HAKUTO to Continue Pursuit of Private Lunar Exploration Despite Competition Hurdle

posted: 2018.1.11



January 11, 2018

Team HAKUTO to Continue Pursuit of Private Lunar Exploration Despite Competition Hurdle

Tokyo, Japan — January 11, 2018 — Team HAKUTO, the sole Japanese team competing for the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE competition, received confirmation today from India-based TeamIndus that the Indian team and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), whose PSLV rocket is planned to send both TeamIndus’ rover and Team HAKUTO’s “SORATO” rover to the Moon, have not been able to agree on a launch date. As HAKUTO’s “SORATO” rover is to share a ride with TeamIndus on the ISRO rocket, it is now deemed difficult to launch “SORATO” before the race deadline of March 31st, 2018. However, regardless of the outcome, HAKUTO will continue to investigate every possible path to achieve private lunar exploration.

Team HAKUTO has been deeply engaged in the development of its lunar exploration rover and has reached several successful milestones along the way including the Mobility Milestone Prize. Most recently, an international panel of expert judges for the Google Lunar XPRIZE visited HAKUTO’s Tokyo headquarters to review a detailed Mission Plan, and both the panel and the team agreed on the parameters by which the Mission would ultimately be evaluated. In addition, the fully-assembled rover flight model “SORATO” successfully passed the thermal vacuum test and the vibration test, proving its readiness for launch. Finally, the completed rover was successfully delivered to TeamIndus’ facility in Bangalore, India, on December 19th, 2017.

Regardless of the outcome of the competition, HAKUTO will passionately continue its pursuit to realize private lunar exploration. HAKUTO has also made a commitment to support its fellow participant TeamIndus to investigate possible ways to complete the mission until the very end of the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. For example, HAKUTO is planning to discuss with TeamIndus and the Google Lunar XPRIZE organizers about the possibility of extending the race deadline. Moreover, HAKUTO will continue to reach for the Moon by taking the best possible path among several options including: riding on HAKUTO’s managing company ispace’s future lunar missions, continuing its partnership with TeamIndus, finding an alternative lunar lander, etc. Finally, HAKUTO will explore any means necessary to deliver the engraved panel with the names of our crowdfunding supporters.

Thank you very much for your continued support.

Comment by Takeshi Hakamada, leader of HAKUTO

“HAKUTO’s motto is “to turn a dream into reality.” We have faced several challenges along our journey during fundraising, changing of our rideshare partner, weight-reduction of our rover, just to name a few. Even during the worst possible scenario, I’m confident that we can come up with a solution if we don’t give up. Regardless of today’s news, we will continue our journey and reach for the Moon.”

【About HAKUTO】

Team HAKUTO, run by the Japanese startup ispace, Inc., is the only Japanese team competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The team is comprised of various members including: the members of ispace, Tohoku University, and Pro-Bono experts from various fields. HAKUTO was awarded a Mobility Milestone Prize from Google Lunar XPRIZE in January 2015.


【About Google Lunar XPRIZE】

The $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE is an unprecedented competition to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. To win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a privately funded team must successfully place a robot on the Moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high-definition video and images back to Earth, before the mission deadline of March 31, 2018. Visit or @GLXP for more information.

【Contact Information】

Horiguchi, HAKUTO PR Office