Tokyo. The commercial Japanese lunar lander “Hakuto-R” is close to the goal. The Japanese space company ispace announced on Wednesday that it is expected to land on the moon on April 25th. If successful, it would be the world’s first private moon mission.
“I look forward to witnessing this historic day that marks the beginning of a new era in commercial lunar missions,” said Takeshi Hakamada, founder and chief executive officer of ispace, in a press release on Wednesday. A Falcon 9 rocket from Elon Musk’s US space company SpaceX took off from the Cape Canaveral cosmodrome in the US state of Florida in December and took “Hakuto-R” on its way to the moon.
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© Source: dpa
If the mission goes as planned, the lander will touch down gently on April 25 at around 18:40 (CEST) in an area called the Atlas Crater. To carry less fuel, the lander had a longer, more energy-efficient one route to the moon taken, in which the gravity of the earth and sun was used for propulsion. Last month, the probe reached the orbit of the moon.
“Hakuto-R” had been tested in Ottobrunn, near Munich, Germany. The lander, 2.3 meters high and 2.6 meters wide with the landing legs extended, is carrying international cargo, including a small United Arab Emirates rover and an even smaller two-wheeled robot developed by Japan’s state space agency Jaxa and Japanese toymaker Tomy .
Two American competitors, the companies Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines, are also planning their own moon missions in the near future. So far, only government programs have managed to land on the moon.