Archive photo shows one of the ispace micro lunar rovers MATIC ZORMAN

Archive photo shows one of the ispace micro lunar rovers MATIC ZORMAN

The parent company of Luxembourg-based ispace Europe has raised $46m in series C funding, a sum that will finance its second and third missions.

The Japanese-based space robotics company that seven investors clubbed together to raise the sum, with Incubate Fund the lead investor. A leading venture capital firm in Japan, Incubate invested in ispace at seed stage in 2014.

The six other Series C investors include Innovation Engine New Space Industry Investment, SBI 4+5 Investment (managed by SBI Investment), former SoftBank executive Katsunori Sago, an investment vehicle managed by Hijojo Partners, AIZAWA Investments and Ariake Secondary Fund.

The Series C funding brings the total finance raised by the firm to $195m, including Series B, A and seed funding, as well as bank loan financing announced in June 2021.

Nasa contracts

Ispace Europe and its Japanese counterpart, were  among four private companies to secure bring back 50-500g of regolith from the moon. The $5,000 contracts are part of a strategy to build a permanent lunar station capable of refuelling space craft. According to its 2019 annual results, ispace Europe employs 15 people in Luxembourg where it operates out of the Paul Wurth InCub. Its micro lunar rover mission to map lunar water deposits on the moon will be involved in Nasa’s 2023 mission.