Akihabara News (Japan) — The Tokyo-based start-up ispace Inc. is taking further steps in an attempt to realize its vision of beginning the human colonization of the Moon within just a few years.

In its latest move, ispace opened this month a new office in Denver, Colorado, utilizing part of the approximately US$125 million that it has so far been able to raise in investment in its decade-long history.

The Japanese firm recently announced the appointment of Kyle Acierno as the CEO of its US branch and hired Kursten O’Neill, who had seven years’ experience at SpaceX, as its US lander program director.

Upon the opening of the Denver office, O’Neill stated, “I truly believe exploring the Moon, Mars, and beyond is our destiny as a human race; the uniting factor to further our presence among the stars. By joining ispace to lead our US lander mission to the Moon, I’m excited to bring together the best and brightest to innovate, create, and inspire an even larger shift in aerospace advancement and exploration.”

Company founder and CEO Takeshi Hakamada added, “We are very pleased to begin active operations in the United States, which is spearheading the global momentum toward lunar exploration. We believe we can provide value to the United States by complementing the deep US-Japan collaboration on lunar exploration as a commercial services provider operating in both countries.”

ispace has opened its office in Denver mainly to more closely cooperate with its US partners, especially the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and its Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.

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That program aims to begin deliveries of cargo to the Moon, setting the stage for astronauts to start landing in 2024.

Currently, ispace is completing the lander design for its Mission 1 and expects to start assembling and testing it early next year.

Three years ago, ispace produced a video outlining its “2040 Vision” of a Moon colony with a thousand inhabitants. It can be viewed below.



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