Elon Musk’s SpaceX launches Japanese spacecraft, UAE Rover To The Moon
Washington, United States:
A Japanese startup’s spacecraft was launched to the moon on Sunday in the country’s first-ever lunar mission and the first of its kind by a private company.
The launch was carried out by Elon Musk’s SpaceX at Cape Canaveral in the US state of Florida after two postponements for additional pre-flight checks.
The spacecraft, produced by Tokyo-based startup ispace, lifted off aboard a Falcon 9 rocket at 02:38 (0738 GMT), live footage of the launch was broadcast.
“Our first mission will lay the groundwork for unlocking the moon’s potential and transforming it into a robust and vibrant economic system,” startup CEO Takeshi Hakamada said in a statement.
So far, only the United States, Russia and China have successfully placed a robot on the lunar surface.
The ispace mission is the first of a program called Hakuto-R, which means “white rabbit” in Japanese.
The company said its lunar lander is scheduled to land on the near side of the Moon in April 2023, the Year of the Rabbit in Japan.
Measuring just over 2 by 2.5 meters, the spacecraft has a payload that includes a 10-kilogram rover built by the United Arab Emirates.
The Gulf country is a relative newcomer to the space race but recently sent a probe into Mars’ orbit last year. If the rover, named Rashid, lands successfully, it will be the Arab world’s first lunar mission.
Hakuto was one of five finalists in Google’s Lunar XPrize competition to land a rover on the Moon before the 2018 deadline, which ended without a winner.
The ispace lunar lander also carries two robots produced by the Japanese space agency and a disc with the song “SORATO” by Japanese rock band Sakanaction, originally written to support the Google contest.
Israeli organization SpaceIL, another finalist in the competition, failed in April 2019 to become the first privately funded mission to land on the Moon, after its lander crashed into the surface while attempting to land on the Moon. to land.
ispace, which has just 200 employees, said it “aims to expand the sphere of human life in space and create a sustainable world by providing high-frequency, low-cost transportation services to the Moon “.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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