LUPEX Mission

The Japanese and Indian space agencies are planning a joint mission to the Moon to explore the polar regions. Known as the Lunar Polar Exploration (LUPEX) mission, this mission includes the Japanese Rover and the Indian Lunar Lander.


This is a robotic lunar mission concept of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which dispatches lunar rover and landing vessels to explore the Antarctic region in the year 2024. JAXA will provide the H3 launcher and rover still under development, and ISRO may be responsible for the lander. This mission is currently under the planning phase.

ISRO signed the Preliminary Phase A and Phase A Research Implementation Agreement (IA) in December 2017, to investigate the polar regions of the Moon in collaboration with the JAXA. The mission is scheduled to be launched by 2024. JAXA and ISRO held a Joint Mission Review in the year 2018. JAXA completed an in-house project preparation review at the end of the year 2019. As Chandrayaan-2 lander crashed on the moon when it was about to land in the year 2019, so India is investigating a new lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, to demonstrate LUPEX’s landing capabilities. In the year 2019, JAXA and NASA discussed the possibility of NASA participating in this mission. JAXA completed the System Requirements Review in early 2021,

Objective of this mission

The lunar exploration mission will showcase new surface exploration technologies related to moonlit night survival and vehicle transport for sustainable lunar exploration in the polar regions. For accurate landing, navigation equipment derived from the Smart Lander mission to investigate the moon and matching algorithms will be used. The lander will carry a minimum of 350 kg. The rover will carry several JAXA and ISRO equipment, including equipment that collects underground samples at a depth of 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in). Finding and analyzing water is most likely the purpose of the mission. Payload proposals can be requested from other space agencies.