Japanese astronauts attempt the first commercial moon landing

(CNN) A lunar lander, carrying a spacecraft developed in the United Arab Emirates, will try to find a foothold on the lunar surface on Tuesday — potentially the world’s first lunar landing for a commercially developed spacecraft.

probe Launched atop a SpaceX rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Dec. 11. Since then, it has taken a three-month voyage to enter orbit around the Moon, which lies about 239,000 miles (383,000 kilometers) from Earth, using a low-energy trajectory. Overall, the spacecraft has taken about 870,000 miles (1.4 million kilometers) into space.

He lives coverage Landing is expected to begin Tuesday as early as 11:20 a.m. ET, or about an hour and 20 minutes before the scheduled landing. The landing is expected to happen on Tuesday at 12:40 PM ET, which is Wednesday at 1:40 AM JST.

The lunar lander, named Hakuto-R, carries the Rashid lander, built by Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC), in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – the first Arab-made lunar rover.

In history, only three countries have implemented a Controlled lunar landing – the United States, the former Soviet Union and China. The United States remains the only country to put humans on the moon.

Japanese company ispace, which built the Hakuto-R probe, has a different approach to previous lunar missions, aiming to land its spacecraft on the moon as a for-profit business rather than under the banner of a single country.

The company shared mission updates on Twitter account, Including a recent image of Earth looking behind the Moon taken by the spacecraft as it moved through the Moon’s orbit.

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ispace was preparing for accidents. “Recognizing the potential for an anomaly during the mission, results will be weighed, evaluated against criteria, and included in future missions already in development between now and 2025,” the company wrote on Dec. 11. mail.

If successful, the 22-pound (10-kg) Rosetta rover will exit the lunar lander and spend “most of the 14-day lunar day exploring the Atlas crater in the northeast of the moon,” according to the report. European Space Agencywhich helped design the rover’s wheels.

The European Space Agency said that “Rover Rashid is equipped with a high-resolution camera on the front mast and another mounted at the rear, in addition to a microscopic camera and a thermal imaging camera.” It also carries the Langmuir Probe to sample the prevailing plasma environment just above the lunar surface. “

Context

Japan ispace is one of several companies that competed in the Google Lunar XPrize, which offered a $20 million reward for the company that can put a robotic rover on the moon, travel 2,000 feet, and transmit data back to Earth.

The Google-sponsored competition was canceled in 2018 — but ispace was among the companies that chose to continue pursuing the mission.

Israel-based SpaceIL was the first XPrize contestant to attempt to put the lander on the moon after the program ended. Beresheet spacecraft has crashed In 2019 after the ground teams lost contact with the lander as it is Come closer Surface.

In the same year, the Indian Space and Research Organization (ISRO) disconnection With a lunar lander shortly before its scheduled landing on the lunar surface. Communication was with the spacecraft He did not recoverImages from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter later revealed the crash site and final resting place for the mission.

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iSpace’s future plans include a mission to retrieve lunar soil samples on behalf of NASA – its Artemis program includes using commercial lunar landers to explore the lunar surface.

The company depends on ESA To provide key communications with the robotic lunar lander, the agency indicated in a press release.

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