Japanese ispace launches first commercial moon lander

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japanese ispace launches first commercial moon lander

After many setbacks, on December 11 a new space firm in Japan successfully launched a spacecraft toward the moon. This is an important step toward achieving a first for both the country as a whole and for a private enterprise.

After two delays brought on by inspections of its SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the HAKUTO-R mission that was being carried out by ispace Inc. finally got off the ground at Cape Canaveral, Florida, without any problems.

When the rocket was launched into the night sky, more than one hundred individuals who were attending a watching party in Tokyo erupted in a roaring round of applause.

“I’m so delighted.” Yuriko Takeda, a 28-year-old employee at an electronics firm who attended the gathering, said that after a number of setbacks, she was relieved that we were finally able to have a real launch today.

“While this is only the launch, the fact that it’s a private enterprise going there with a rover is a pretty big step,” said the man, “I have this vision of the American flag from the Apollo landing.”

In the previous half century, the government space agencies of the United States, Russia, and China have accomplished soft landings on the planet that is closest in orbit to the earth, but no private enterprises have done it.

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In a time when China is becoming more competitive and rides on Russian rockets are no longer available as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the successful completion of this mission would also mark a significant milestone in the United States and Japan’s ongoing efforts to work together in the space industry.

It would also put a fitting end on a space-filled few days for Japan, after the announcement made by billionaire Yusaku Maezawa on Friday on the eight crew members he plans to take on a SpaceX flyby of the moon as soon as next year.

In Japanese legend, there is a white rabbit named HAKUTO who lives on the moon. This is in contrast to the traditional Western concept of their being a man living on the moon. Before being resurrected as a for-profit enterprise, the project had already made it to the finals of the Google Lunar XPRIZE.

According to the Asian calendar, the year 2019 will be the Year of the Rabbit. The spacecraft, which was built in Germany, is scheduled to touch down on the moon by the end of April.

This delivery of government and commercial payloads is the first of what the business expects will be many more deliveries in the future. Before making its landing in the Atlas Crater, the ispace vehicle is going to attempt to place a tiny NASA satellite into lunar orbit so that it may seek for water deposits.

The Japanese JAXA space agency will send a robotic rover the size of a baseball with two wheels, while the United Arab Emirates will send a robotic rover called the Rashid explorer with four wheels. These rovers will be deployed by the M1 lander. Additionally, it will be transporting a prototype solid-state battery that was manufactured by NGK Spark Plug Co. 5334.T.

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also vice-president of the United Arab Emirates and who watched the launch at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center, stated that the Rashid rover is a part of the United Arab Emirates’ ambitious space program. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum is also present at the launch.

In a tweet, he explained that their mission was to “leave a scientific footprint in the history of humanity while also transferring information and increasing our capacities.”

Ispace, a company that is privately funded and has a contract with NASA to carry cargo to the moon beginning in 2025, has the goal of building a lunar colony that is permanently manned by the year 2040.

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