Japan Space Attempts World’s First Commercial Moon Landing | CNN

Japan Space Attempts World's First Commercial Moon Landing |  CNN

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A Japanese lunar lander carrying a rover developed in the United Arab Emirates will try to find its feet on the lunar surface on Tuesday – potentially marking the world’s first lunar landing for a commercially developed spacecraft.

The lander was launched atop a SpaceX rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on December 11. Since then, the spacecraft has taken a three-month trek to enter orbit around the moon, which is about 239,000 miles (383,000 kilometers) from Earth. – Energy path. In total, this track took the lander about 870,000 miles (1.4 million kilometers) into space.

Live coverage of the landing is expected to begin early Tuesday at 11:20 a.m. ET, or about an hour and 20 minutes before the scheduled landing. Touchdown is expected to occur at 12:40 pm ET on Tuesday, which is 1:40 pm Japan Standard Time on Wednesday.

The lunar lander, named Hakuto-R, is carrying the Rashid rover, built by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates – the first Arab-built lunar spacecraft.

Only three countries in history have carried out capital punishment Controlled landings on the Moon – United States, former Soviet Union and China. The US It is the only country that has put humans on the moon.

Japanese company Ispace, which built the Hakuto-R lander, has a different approach to previous lunar missions, aiming to land its spacecraft on the moon as a profitable business under the banner of a single country.

The company has shared mission updates on its Twitter account Including a recent photograph of Earth peeking out from behind the Moon that was captured by the spacecraft while traveling in lunar orbit.

The Lunar Research Company is preparing for disaster. “Recognizing the possibility of anomalies during the mission, the results will be measured and evaluated against benchmarks and incorporated into future missions already in development between now and 2025,” the company wrote in a Dec. 11 post.

If successful, the 22-pound (10 kg) Rashid rover would emerge from the lunar lander and “spend much of a 14-day period exploring the Atlas crater in the moon’s northeast,” according to the European Space Agency, which helped. Design the wheels of the rover.

“The Rashid rover is equipped with one high-resolution camera on its front mast and another mounted on its rear, as well as a microscopic camera and a thermal imaging camera,” ESA said. “It also carries a ‘Langmuir probe’ to sample the plasma environment prevailing above the lunar surface.”

Japan’s Ispace is one of several companies competing in the Google Lunar XPrize, which offers a $20 million prize to the company that can put a robotic rover on the moon, travel a thousand feet and transmit data back to Earth.

The Google-sponsored competition was canceled in 2018 — but Ispace was one of the companies that chose to continue pursuing the mission.

Israel-based company SpaceIL was the first XPrize entrant to attempt to place its lander on the Moon after the program ended. Its Beresheet spacecraft crashed in 2019 after ground teams lost contact with the lander as it neared the surface.

In the same year, the Indian Space and Research Organization lost contact with the lunar lander shortly before landing on the moon. Communications with the spacecraft were never recovered, and images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter later revealed the mission’s crash site and final resting place.

The mission to recover lunar soil samples on behalf of NASA is part of Ipses’ future plans – its Artemis program includes the use of commercial lunar landers to explore the lunar surface.

The company relies on ESA to provide key communications with its robotic lunar lander, the agency noted in a news release.

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