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SpaceX signs customer looking to explore the moon – CNET

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The second of the two missions will bring a lander onto the surface of the moon, where it'll deploy two rovers.

ispace

SpaceX signed another Japanese customer for launches on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket -- this time a lunar-exploration startup.

Ispace, which is based in Tokyo, contracted Elon Musk's company to launch its lunar equipment on Falcon 9 rockets in 2020 and 2021, it announced Wednesday. The first mission will put a lunar lander in orbit around the moon, while the second will bring a lander onto the surface of the moon, where it'll deploy two rovers to collect data.

"We share the vision with SpaceX of enabling humans to live in space, so we're very glad they will join us in this first step of our journey," said Takeshi Hakamada, Ispace's CEO, in a statement.

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Ispace, which has 65 staff based in its native Japan, Luxembourg and the US, wants "to extend human presence beyond Earth."

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's President and COO said it's "looking forward to delivering their innovative spacecraft to the moon."

Last week, Musk announced that the company's first paying passenger for a trip to the moon would be Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa.