Japanese aerospace exploration company Ispace lost contact with its commercial lunar probe moments before the planned moon landing, the fate of which remains unknown.
According to the company’s statement, the moon landing mission is presumed to have failed. Other similar trading missions in the past have also failed. Events can be followed live from the Tokyo Flight Control Center on the company’s YouTube page.
Specialists cannot yet confirm the position of Hakuto-R, as they have not received any signal from which they can conclude the state of the spacecraft.
The vehicle left its 100-kilometer lunar orbit around Tuesday, and began to descend and slow down.
Hakuto-R, which is 2.3 meters high and 2.6 meters wide with extended landing pads, was launched last December from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on the Falcon-9 launch vehicle of the US space company SpaceX. Among other things, the purpose of the mission was to deliver to the moon the lunar rover developed by the UAE Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mini-robot.
The year 2023 is the year of the rabbit according to the Chinese calendar, and the name Hakuto refers to the white rabbit from Japanese mythology, which according to legend lives on the moon.
So far, only missions of government space research agencies have reached the moon. Two private US companies, Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines, are already planning missions to the moon of their own. (MTI)
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