Japanese Lunar Lander fails to land on the Moon

Tokyo (Japan) – Japan’s ispace said its attempt to make the first private moon landing had failed after losing contact with its Hakuto-R Mission 1 (M1) lander when it unexpectedly accelerated and probably crashed on the lunar surface.

1. Start-up ispace, aiming to become the first private company to land a craft on the moon, said it was still unable to make a connection with the uncrewed Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander about 25 minutes after it was scheduled to have touched down on the moon’s surface.

2. The spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the US on a SpaceX rocket in December and had completed several mission objectives leading up to its landing attempt.

3. Hakuto-R M1 is the third small spacecraft to attempt a landing on the Moon. The first two also failed. An Israeli non-profit, SpaceIL, sent the privately-funded Bereshit lander to the Moon in early 2019, but it failed in the last moments. A few months later, the Indian Space Research Organisation sent Chandrayann-2, but communications similarly were lost just before landing.

4. Only three countries have successfully touched down on the moon – Russia, the United States and China.

5. With just 200 employees, ispace has said it “aims to extend the sphere of human life into space and create a sustainable world by providing high-frequency, low-cost transportation services to the Moon”.

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