(BLOOMBERG) — Japanese companies are planning to kick-start the lunar economy by backing a local startup’s mission to land on the moon by 2020.
Tokyo-based Ispace Inc. said it raised 10.2 billion yen ($90 million) from some of the country’s biggest businesses, including Japan Airlines Co. and television network Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings Inc. The funds will be used to send a spacecraft into lunar orbit by 2019, and then land one a year later.
Private companies are playing a bigger role in space development, from Elon Musk’s rocket launcher Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and asteroid miner Planetary Resources Inc., seeking to deliver humanity to the cosmos while securing a return for their shareholders. Ispace says a thriving lunar economy is still decades away, but it is putting profits and corporate projects at the heart of its missions in the coming years.
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