A Tokyo-based startup company called Ispace has raised eyebrows by raising $90 million (10.2 billion yen) from some of the country’s biggest businesses, including Japan Airlines Co. and television network Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings Inc. The funds, they say, will be used to send a spacecraft into lunar orbit by 2019, and then land a year later after orbiting the Moon. 

Ispace says that an economy surrounding lunar travel and one geared towards bettering it is still decades away, but it is putting profits and corporate projects at the heart of its missions in the coming years.

"With this funding, Ispace will begin the development of a lunar lander to establish a flexible and regular lunar transportation system, and lead the exploration and development of the lunar surface through micro-robotic systems," company founder and CEO Takeshi Hakamada said in a statement, according to Space.com.

Along with several private investors, the company also raised money from several Japanese government research and development funding agencies, who also came forward to offer support in order to help propel a private Japanese company into space.

This lander developed by the company will be capable of carrying 30 kilograms of payload, including the rovers — which themselves can each accommodate about 5 kilograms, according to Space.com.

Innovation Network Corp. of Japan is the leading investor in the first round of investment with $31 million, while Development Bank of Japan also invested an undisclosed amount.

The company plans on generating revenue, at least initially, only through marketing. Several companies will pay top dollar to put the logo of their company on an object that will be propelled into space. It is an instant eye grabber as images and videos will be circulated worldwide.

After landing on the moon successfully in 2020, the company plans on offering a "projection mapping service" which will serve as a small billboard on the Moon. The startup hopes that companies will be drawn by this unique opportunity.

From 2021, Hakamada plans to land exploration vehicles that will search for water on the Moon. He hopes that a water source on the Moon will considerably reduce fuel costs, which is the primary cost in space travel. Using the hydrogen in water molecules, future missions hope to synthesize hydrogen fuel to propel their spacecraft further than the moon, making moon our space gas station.

Ispace estimates there are billions of tons of water on the moon, but hard evidence is lacking.

In 2009, NASA researchers found molecules associated with water. This year, NASA said that large amounts of water likely exist under the lunar surface.

Fuelled by recent findings and speculation, the team hopes to kick start a private revolution to make space travel better. Ispace got its start through Google’s Lunar Xprize, a competition sponsored by Alphabet Inc. that will award $20 million to whoever can land and drive a spacecraft on the moon’s surface. There are 5 teams currently in contention for the grand prize.

"With the network and knowledge of our new shareholders, we will not only expand commercial space activities centered around lunar resources, but also create a sustainable living sphere beyond Earth," Hakamada said.