Japanese start-up loses contact with spacecraft during lunar landing

Japanese start-up loses contact with spacecraft during lunar landing

A Japanese start-up that hoped to become the first commercial company to successfully land on the moon lost contact with its spacecraft on Tuesday, the company said, after a tense period as it tried to re-establish communication with the lander.

The uncrewed Hakuto-R lander, manufactured by ispace, a Tokyo-based company, had lifted off from lunar orbit and was near the lunar surface when ground controllers lost contact with it at about 12:40 a.m. ET. Engineers continued to try to communicate with the spacecraft but said they feared the worst.

“We have to accept that we could not complete the lunar surface landing,” Espace founder and CEO Takeshi Hakamada said during the company’s live broadcast. “Our engineers will continue to investigate the situation. … What I can say at the moment is that we are very proud of the fact that we have already achieved many things during this mission.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Hakmada said he told his team members to keep their heads up. “We have already achieved great success. … We should be proud of what we have done, and we will continue. He added that the team will be able to incorporate any lessons learned into their next attempt, scheduled for next year. He added that landing on the moon is not easy. But it is not impossible.”

The attempt was the latest failed robotic moon-landing mission. In 2019, a privately funded Israeli spacecraft crash-landed on the moon, and later that year, an Indian spacecraft carrying a rover also failed in a soft landing attempt.

By the end of this year, two more companies – Intuitive Machines and Astrobotic, both based in the United States – are expected to try to land on the moon in partnership with NASA as part of the space agency’s Artemis program, as it looks to begin building infrastructure. for human landing.

The space mission began when the spacecraft launched from Florida in December on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It then took an orbiting path toward the moon, before attempting Tuesday’s landing in Atlas Crater, in the moon’s northeast quadrant. While company leaders expressed confidence that their spacecraft would land successfully, they acknowledged the difficulty of landing on the moon and recent failed attempts by others.

The Hakuto-R mission grew out of the Google Lunar XPrize competition, a failed attempt to encourage private-sector efforts to send spacecraft to the Moon. After the contest was dissolved without a winner, however, ispace continued its program.

Its spacecraft carried a 22-pound rover developed by the United Arab Emirates, marking the first Arab lunar mission. Also onboard was a three-inch mobile robot developed by the Japanese Space Agency and a Japanese toy company to take pictures while on the moon.

NASA was not involved in the mission, but Espace has said it hopes to partner with the space agency in the future through its US subsidiary based in Denver.

In the coming years, NASA plans to build a sustainable presence on and around the Moon, eventually sending astronauts to search for water in the form of ice in the permanently shadowed craters at the Moon’s south pole. It also intends to assemble a small space station in orbit around the moon, known as a Gateway.

China is also eyeing the moon. In 2019, it became the first nation to land a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon. And it is planning to send astronauts to the South Pole of the Moon.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has said that the United States is in a space race with China, effectively barred by law from cooperating with China in space. In a congressional hearing last week, he warned that the United States needs to get its astronauts to the moon before China.

“If you let China go there first, what’s to stop them from saying, ‘We’re here. This is our area. You stay out.’? That’s why I think it’s important for us to get there on an international mission and establish the rules of the road.”

#Japanese #startup #loses #contact #spacecraft #lunar #landing

The Athletic

Anatomy of a collapse: How the Bucks fell apart against Jimmy Butler and the Heat

Disordered eating habits can reveal an elusive black hole  CNN

Disordered eating habits can reveal an elusive black hole CNN

Back to Top