KDDI and Team Hakuto have signed an official partnership agreement to face the challenge of the Google Lunar XPRIZE together. With this technology collaboration, KDDI will be participating in the first private exploration of the Moon.
KDDI has officially partnered with Hakuto, the first privately funded lunar exploration team from Japan. Hakuto is maintained by ispace technologies, inc. (Headquarters: Minato, Tokyo; President and CEO: Takeshi Hakamada) and has a mission in pursuit of the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The Google Lunar XPRIZE is the world's first uncrewed lunar exploration competition. Optimizing their accumulated technologies and experience in telecommunications, au (KDDI's mobile brand) is jointly developing a lunar exploration robot (rover) with Hakuto in an attempt to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition.
au's Role in Team Hakuto's Google Lunar XPRIZE Mission
The Google Lunar XPRIZE is an international competition to land a privately funded rover on the lunar surface, travel more than 500 meters, and transmit back high definition video and images taken by the rover's camera to the Earth's surface.
Having already completed a number of iterations of the design of its rover, HAKUTO is now working on developing the final version, (i.e.: flight model) which will be used to complete their lunar exploration mission.
Operation of the rover on the Moon will be conducted remotely from the Earth; communication technology is therefore key to the success of the mission. Hakuto is conducting research to use a frequency band normally used for mobile devices on the lunar surface. This is the first attempt by a private company to use commercial communication technologies to assist in space exploration. Au will support this project by optimizing their accumulated technologies and using their experience in telecommunication. This includes testing radio radio communications using a radio-frequency anechoic chamber, and assisting with data recovery, compression, and optimization.
Au and Hakuto will also collaborate for testing of the flight model of the rover, which is currently under development. This new space challenge by au follows their previous innovation in international satellite broadcasting, being the first to broadcast between the U.S. and Japan. HAKUTO's mission in pursuit of the Google Lunar XPRIZE is their challenge to cross the boundary between space and the Earth. By going to the Moon with a privately funded company for the first time, au is further establishing their commitment to transcending boundaries.
Comment by Takeshi Hakamada (Hakuto Team Leader)
"The communication technology that we jointly develop is essential to connect us to space and to our rover on the Moon. I greatly feel reassured that the pioneer of international telecommunications in Japan is supporting us to build that technology. I am confident in the faculties of au's research institute and its technicians' outstanding experience and knowledge of communication technologies. I am incredibly excited to work with them as a team to pursue this mission."
Comment by Takashi Tanaka (KDDI CEO)
"I am sincerely pleased to be able to challenge the first private lunar exploration with Team HAKUTO. The lunar surface is a significantly different environment from the Earth. We are expecting various difficulties in each component of communication. KDDI provides maximum technology and experience gained so far, and I would like to strongly support this mission. I believe this experience will be the first step that leads to the development of new space and communications technology.
About the Google Lunar XPRIZE [Web site: http://lunar.xprize.org]
Sponsored by Google, the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, which is maintained by XPRIZE Foundation, is an international space race in lunar robotic exploration. The purpose of this race is to advance privately funded space development, expand the space industry, promote investments to the market, and create sustainable business to develop on the Moon over a long term. The mission is to land a privately funded rover on the Moon, travel 500 meters, and transmit back high definition video and images. The first team will be awarded the $20 million Grand Prize. The second team will be awarded $5 million. Currently, 16 teams are officially participating in the competition worldwide.
About Hakuto [Web site: http://team-hakuto.jp/]
Hakuto, which is maintained by ispace technologies, inc, is the sole competitor of the Google Lunar XPRIZE from Japan. Hakuto is comprised of people from diverse backgrounds such as venture capital, engineering, academic research and probono members; they have pooled their ideas, skills and resources to develop the lunar rover. In January 2015, the team was awarded a Mobility Milestone Prize from Google Lunar XPRIZE worth five hundred thousand American dollars. The prize was granted after an independent judging panel followed Hakuto's progress in qualifying its rover for flight readiness.
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For more details, see the Attachment.
Attachment：au's mission in the HAKUTO Project