Japanese Startup's Moon Lander Launched Successfully

Science Society

Tokyo, Dec. 11 (Jiji Press)--A lunar lander developed by Japanese space exploration startup ispace was launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 4:38 p.m. Sunday Japan time (7:38 a.m. GMT).

Ispace hopes that the lander will become the world's first private-sector probe to touch down on the moon. The launch is part of the Hakuto-R lunar exploration project.

The lander is about 2.3 meters high and 2.6 meters wide, and weighs about 340 kilograms. It can carry items weighing up to 30 kilograms.

For the ongoing mission, the lander will send to the moon a small transformable robot developed mainly by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, and Japanese toy maker Tomy Co. <7867>, better known as Takara Tomy, and a lunar probe from the United Arab Emirates.

After being separated from the rocket made by U.S. spacecraft manufacturer Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, the lander will travel in an orbit that will take time but need less fuel, and will try to land on the moon, at the Atlas crater in the area called Mare Frigoris, around late April next year.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press