Japanese Company Tries To Land Spacecraft On Moon
(Associated Press) – A Japanese company tried to land its own spacecraft on the moon early Wednesday, but its fate was unknown as flight controllers lost contact with it moments before the planned touchdown.
Flight controllers peered at their screens in Tokyo, expressionless, as the minutes went by with still no word from the lander.
A webcast commentator urged everyone to be patient, as the controllers investigated what might have happened.
“Everyone, please give us a few minutes to confirm,” he urged.
If successful, the company ispace would be the first private business to pull off a lunar landing.
Only three governments have successfully landed on the moon: Russia, the United States and China. The spacecraft carried a mini lunar rover for the United Arab Emirates and a toylike robot from Japan designed to roll around in the moon dust. There were also items from private customers on board.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
A Japanese company is about to attempt what no other private business has done: land on the moon.
Tokyo’s ispace company put its own spacecraft into orbit around the moon a month ago. On Tuesday, flight controllers will direct the craft, named Hakuto, Japanese for white rabbit, to descend from 60 miles (100 kilometers) high and land.
The 7-foot lander is carrying a mini lunar rover for the United Arab Emirates and a toylike robot from Japan designed to roll around in the moon dust.
Hakuto took a long, roundabout route to the moon following its December liftoff, beaming back photos of Earth along the way.
Only three governments have successfully landed on the moon: Russia, the United States and China. An Israeli nonprofit tried to land on the moon in 2019, but its spacecraft was destroyed on impact.