Japanese private space company to attempt historic Moon landing today

Japan's ispace could become the world's first private company to perform a successful lunar landing.
Chris Young
An artist's impression of the Hakuto-R lunar lander.
An artist's impression of the Hakuto-R lunar lander.


Japan's Hakuto-R lander, developed by private space firm ispace, will soon attempt a Moon landing.

Last month, ispace announced that Hakuto-R successfully performed a lunar insertion maneuver. That was a crucial step ahead of its historic lunar landing attempt.

Now, the time is near. A private space company could land a spacecraft on the Moon for the very first time.

Hakuto-R lander to attempt soft Moon landing

The uncrewed Hakuto-R mission has spent roughly five months traveling to the Moon, having lifted off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket back in December of last year.

Now, ispace has announced that it could attempt to perform a lunar landing as early as 11:40 am ET today, April 25. It has shared a link for the livestream, which can also be viewed via the embedded video below.

The historic Moon landing attempt will begin at an altitude of roughly 100 km above the lunar surface, where the Hakuto-R spacecraft is currently orbiting.

The entire process will take roughly an hour. To start things off, it will perform a braking maneuver by firing its main engine. A pre-programmed set of commands will then see it decelerate and, hopefully, perform a successful soft landing.

The Hakuto-R lunar lander is carrying several payloads to the Moon, including United Arab Emirates' Rashid rover, as well as Tomy and JAXA's SORA-Q transformable lunar robot.

Japan's ispace could make history today

If all goes to plan, the Japanese firm ispace aims to provide a reliable, low-cost transportation service to the lunar surface.

In a recent statement, the company said it is "in active negotiations with a number of global companies regarding future lunar missions, many of which have identified demand not only for lunar landings but also for transportation to orbit around the Moon."

It would also make history, as no other private space company has ever successfully landed on the Moon. U.S. firms Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines also aim to send small landers to the Moon later this summer.

In 2019, Israel's private Beresheet lunar lander mission, unfortunately, ended in disaster, with the spacecraft crashing as it attempted to land on the Moon.

Success isn't guaranteed for ispace, though the firm could become the first private space company ever to perform a successful lunar landing. Stay posted for more updates on the historic Moon mission.

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