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Business News/ Science / News/  Japan’s private moon lander assumed lost after attempted landing
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Japan’s private moon lander assumed lost after attempted landing

The mission control lost contact with the lander Hakuto -R Mission 1 minutes before the landing time and could not re-establish communication with it after the expected landing time

Takeshi Hakamada, founder and CEO of ispace, speaks during a news conference (Photo: Bloomberg)Premium
Takeshi Hakamada, founder and CEO of ispace, speaks during a news conference (Photo: Bloomberg)

A private Japanese moon mission failed on Tuesday after communication with the spacecraft lost and the lander appeared to have crashed on the moon surface following a landing attempt. It was poised to become the first commercial space attempt to place a lander on the moon.

Japanese startup ispace said the lander Hakuto -R Mission 1 hovered above the moon surface, slowing down to smoothly touch down after an engine cut-off. The mission control lost contact with the lander minutes before the landing time and could not re-establish communication with the lander after its expected landing time.

The landerwas scheduled to land on the moon surface on Tuesday at 12:40 pm ET(1640 GMT Tuesday).

The lander was targeting a landing site at the Moon’s Atlas crater in the far northern hemisphere called Mare Frigoris, also known as the Sea of Cold.

"We have not been able to establish communication and we have to assume that we could not complete the landing on the lunar surface,"ispace CEO Takeshi Hakamada said.

"Our engineers will continue to investigate the situation,"ispace CEO said. "At this moment, what I can tell is we are very proud of the fact that we have already achieved many things during this mission 1" reported Reuters.

Despite apparent failed landing, “ We have acquired flight data during the landing phase, that is great achievement for the future missions," Hakamada said. “That is important to feedback what we learned form this mission to mission two and mission three," Hakamada added.

The spacecraft had arrived in lunar orbit about a month ago after being from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a SpaceX rocket in December last year. It entered lunar orbit in March. The lander began a descent on the lunar surface on Tuesday from an altitude of 100 kilometers above the surface of the Moon, while flying at a speed of 6,000 kilometers per hour.

The lander was carrying both commercial and government-owned payloads to the Moon including a tiny, two-wheeled transformable robot by the Japanese space agency beside two commercial payloads from Canada and a four-wheeled UAE rover designed to explore lunar soil and dust.

So far only three countries—US, Russia and China have successfully managed to put a spacecraft on the lunar surface. In 2016 Indian attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon failed as the spacecraft crashed. In 2019, Israel’s lander also crash on the Moon's surface.

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Published: 26 Apr 2023, 02:00 AM IST
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