Japanese watchmaker Citizen Watch has become a corporate partner of HAKUTO-R, the world’s first commercial lunar exploration programme of ispace.

Under a crucial part of this partnership, Citizen will apply its Super Titanium material to titanium components used in the HAKUTO-R lunar lander and rover.

Super Titanium is pure titanium processed using Citizen’s Duratect surface-hardening technology.

Duratect uses special treatment techniques such as ion plating, gas hardening and duplex coating to produce a titanium material, which is six times harder than stainless steel. The abrasion-resistant material maintains the lightness of titanium.

The material was chosen by ispace’s engineers due to its weight and strength. It will be used for several mechanical parts in the HAKUTO-R.

The two companies aim to use Super Titanium to enhance the reliability and resistance of the titanium parts in the HAKUTO-R.

Through the latest collaboration, Citizen will procure the pure form of titanium material, process it using the Duratect technology and finally apply it to the relevant lander and rover parts of the spacecraft.

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ispace founder and CEO Takeshi Hakamada said: “The application of Citizen’s titanium watch technology to HAKUTO-R’s lunar lander and rover provides a clear example of how industrial techniques used on Earth can provide viable solutions to spacecraft engineering.

“We will continue to actively work with our partner companies to challenge the conventional way of thinking about space development.”

Following the HAKUTO-R missions, the two companies will examine the results of the Super Titanium application on the spacecraft and plan to develop it as a common application to be used in lunar exploration.