An artist's concept of the ARTEMIS spacecraft in orbit around the Moon
An artist's concept of the ARTEMIS spacecraft in orbit around the Moon NASA

SpaceX is helping another company to reach for the moon. Ispace, a Japanese startup company, is aiming to visit Earth's only natural satellite and Elon Musk is lending a helping hand.

Essentially the Japanese firm wants to take a lead in searching for the ice water deposits on the surface of the moon and it already has two missions planned. Now, in the case of both the missions, currently scheduled for 2020 and 2021, the firm will use SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets.

Ispace was one of the organizations that were eyeing the Google-sponsored Lunar Xprize. The firm had funded the Japanese team "Hakuto" team. However, that challenge to land a rover on the lunar surface didn't go down well for anybody. It went on for years and Google had to push the deadline more than once. Finally, the tech giant declined to extend the cash prize, which at that point totaled to $25 million, as the teams constantly struggled to launch their robots.

However, Ispace decided not to get burdened by that failure. The first of the startup's two planned missions will have an orbital module. On the other hand, the second one will consist of a pair of rovers, which would roll down all the way to the moon's surface.

Ispace believes these upcoming moon missions will give them the needed boost to be noticed seriously by the governments and enterprises alike when it comes to set up a moon base.

Recently SpaceX has also announced that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will be the first person privately aboard the space company's upcoming Big Falcon Rocket (BFR). He intends to fly in 2023, and keen to take a group of artists with him in what could be a workshop on the moon.

"Moon mission will be live-streamed in high def VR, so it'll feel like you're there in real-time minus a few seconds for speed of light," said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.