Japan firm fails in historic moon bid - GulfToday

Japan firm fails in historic moon bid


Takeshi Hakamada, ‘ispace; 's founder and chief executive, is pictured at a venue to watch landing of the lander in HAKUTO-R lunar exploration programme on the Moon, in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday. Reuters

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Japanese start-up ispace has updated that they have lost communication with the HAKUTO-R lander and have not been able to confirm a successful landing. Their engineers are continuing to investigate the situation and will update once they finish investigation.

The primary landing site for HAKUTO-R Mission 1 carrying Rashid Rover is Atlas Crater, located in the northeastern quadrant of the Moon.


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Meanwhile, the Japanese firm conceded on Wednesday its ambitious attempt to become the first company to land on the moon had ended in failure, but pledged to move ahead with new missions.

A model of the lander in HAKUTO-R lunar exploration programme by "ispace" is pictured in Tokyo, Japan. Reuters

The unmanned Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander had been scheduled to arrive on the moon's surface overnight, but communications were lost during its descent and had still not been re-established 25 minutes after the scheduled landing.

"It has been determined that there is a high probability that the lander eventually made a hard landing on the moon's surface," ispace said later in a statement.

The company said its engineers were working to establish why the landing had failed.

"Although we do not expect to complete the lunar landing at this time, we believe that we have fully accomplished the significance of this mission, having acquired a great deal of data and experience," ispace CEO and founder Takeshi Hakamada said.

"What is important is to feed this knowledge and learning back to Mission 2 and beyond," he added.

Employees of "ispace" react after the company announced they lost signal from the lander in HAKUTO-R lunar. Reuters

He said the firm is currently developing two further attempts to land on the lunar surface and the setback would not change that.

Still, the apparent crash marks a frustrating end to a mission that began with the lander's launch last December aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The vessel was carrying payloads from several countries, including a lunar rover from the United Arab Emirates.

Chief technology officer Ryo Ujiie teared up as he addressed reporters, describing the attempt as a "very precious experience".




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