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Japan's First Moon Landing Flops

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By Oscar Blair - - 5 Mins Read

A Japanese space startup has missed out on a historic moon landing after their Luna lander failed to touch the moon's surface. The Japan moon mission is a project that has been in the works for many years, and it got close to being accomplished but was cut short by a technical malfunction.

Apparently, the Japanese startup space lost contact with the Lunar lander even though it was about to touch the moon's surface. Named the Hakuto-R Mission 1, the Lunar Lander was about to reach the moon's surface when engineers at ispace lost contact with it, and communications were broken. This led to a failed Japan moon landing mission.

As first reported by The Washington Post, ispace CEO Takeshi Hakamada has confirmed they lost communication with the lander. "Currently, we have not confirmed communications from the lander. So we have to assume that we could not complete the landing," the ispace CEO said during the livestream of the event. 

The Lunar Rover Began its Journey Last December 

Apparently, the Lunar rover started its journey to the moon last December with the help of other big players like SpaceX. The Japan moon mission kicked off last December after a collaboration with SpaceX helped them launch the Hakuto-R lander from Cape Canaveral, Florida, atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

The Lunar lander was supposed to embark on a three-month-long journey to reach lunar orbit. Then as planned by the engineers, it was to touch the moon's surface early Tuesday. Everything went as intended within the last three months before the ispace team lost communication with the lander. 

Experts working on the Hakuto-R Lunar Lander

Working on the Hakuto-R Lunar Lander (iSpace)

In their statement about the situation, ispace noted "that the HAKUTO-R Mission 1 Lunar Lander was expected to land on the surface of the Moon at 1:40 am JST on April 26, 2023. At this time HAKUTO-R Mission Control Center in Nihonbashi, Tokyo has not been able to confirm the success of the Lunar Lander."

They also stated that they'd engineers have already begun to work to determine what led to the technical malfunction. They would want to know what made them lose communication with the lander and what can be done to regain control of it." ispace engineers and mission operations specialists in the Mission Control Center are currently working to confirm the current status of the lander. Further information on the status of the lander will be announced as it becomes available," the space noted.

Also Read: Technical Malfunction Cause Swedish Rocket to Land in Norway 

More Details About the Lunar Lander 

The Hakuto-R lander was supposed to be a pioneering moon mission for the Japanese. Japan’s own national space agencies have yet to attempt a Moon landing. Still, ispace is already making efforts to make a successful landing on the moon ahead of government-funded space agencies. The Hakuto-R Mission 1 comes with two lunar rovers, one of them was made by the United Arab Emirates, and the other one by Sony and Japanese toy company Tomy. 

Apart from startups like ispace, the Japanese government has been slacking heavily regarding space missions. After making its first lunar mission in 1990, the country has gone silent over the years in space exploration. However, they are set to launch the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon later this year.