Lunar industry news: Dec 2021
A recap of lunar business news this month
This month in lunar business news…
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. unveiled a lunar rover prototype jointly developed with Japan’s space agency, JAXA. Nissan will utilize a technology in the design of the rover in which all four wheels move independently from one another to support navigation on the treacherous terrain of the Moon.1 2
The Columbia Sportswear Company will incorporate its gold metallic thermal reflective insulation technology to play a role in Intuitive Machines’ upcoming lunar mission as part of a sponsorship of the US lander company.3
Readers of this newsletter might remember, back in August, I proposed for Columbia Sportswear, among other outdoor recreation companies, to take part in NASA’s call for lunar spacesuit design ideas.
China is developing a rocket capable of sending Chinese astronauts to the Moon by 2030. The rocket is reportedly capable of sending a 30-ton spacecraft to the Moon and its maiden flight may occur as early as 2026.4 5
South Korea’s ruling party presidential candidate pledged - if elected - to ensure the country puts a lander on the Moon by 2030.6
The country is currently preparing to launch a lunar orbiter during 2022.
Japan is aiming to put a Japanese person on the Moon during the latter half of the 2020’s as part of the US-led Artemis Program.7
Mexico joined the NASA-led Artemis Accords, an international agreement between governments participating in the Artemis Program, which aims to return humans to the Moon within the decade. Mexico joins the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Japan, and several European nations and emerging space nations like Brazil, South Korea and the UAE in signing the Accords.9
The Swedish Space Corporation published a release promoting its capabilities to support for lunar exploration missions, mentioning its support for upcoming commercial missions to the Moon,10 such as a recent agreement to provide communications support for US-based Masten Space Systems.11
Australia’s national science agency has opened a new facility for researchers and businesses to test technology for lunar exploration. The facility is equipped with a sealed area that contains fabricated moon dust and a mission control room for remote operation of rovers and payloads.12
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Nissan Links With JAXA to Reinvent the Lunar Rover; HYPEBEAST, Dec 2 2021.
Intuitive Machines Strikes Gold with Columbia Sportswear Partnership; Intuitive Machines, Dec 10 2021.
China’s new rocket for crewed moon missions to launch around 2026; SpaceNews, Dec 17 2021.
Lee pledges to complete moon landing project by 2030; The Korea Herald, Dec 22 2021.
Japan aims to put a person on the moon by late 2020s; Reuters, Dec 28 2021.
HELP WANTED: Astronauts for Japan's space program. No science background required; The Mainichi; Nov 22 2021.
To the moon and beyond – SSC takes years of lunar experience into the future; Swedish Space Corporation, Dec 15 2021.
SSC and Masten Space Systems sign agreement for 2023 lunar mission; Swedish Space Corporation, Oct 29 2021.