Citizen Watch and private lunar exploration company ispace have announced a partnership for HAKUTO-R, the world’s first commercial lunar exploration program. Citizen’s role will be largely the application of its Super Titanium™ material (pure titanium processed using Citizen’s proprietary Duratect surface-hardening technology) to titanium components used in the HAKUTO-R lunar lander and lunar rover.
Duratect uses treatment techniques including ion plating, cold plasma, gas hardening and duplex coating, to produce a titanium material that is six times harder than stainless steel, with a focus on durability and abrasion resistance.
Following the HAKUTO-R missions, ispace and Citizen will examine the results of the Super Titanium™ application on HAKUTO-R’s lunar lander and rover and proceed to develop it as a common application used in lunar exploration.
HAKUTO-R is the Program Name for ispace’s first two lunar missions (Mission 1 & Mission 2), with the current timetable as follows :
Mission 1 will perform a soft landing in 2021.
Mission 2 will perform a soft landing and deploy a rover to explore the lunar surface in 2023.
For both missions, the lander will be a secondary payload on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
The name ‘HAKUTO’ is from the Japanese for ‘white rabbit’, based on the traditional folklore that a white rabbit lives on the Earth’s moon. A project managed by ispace, you can read more about HAKUTO-R at this link, and to see the other partners, hit this page.