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Thursday May 30, 2024

Japan's moon-landing failed due to 'altitude miscalculation'

If the mission had been successful, it would have been the world's first commercial soft-landing on the moon's surface

By Web Desk
May 27, 2023
This undated handout photo released by Japanese firm ispace on April 25, 2023, shows the Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander stored in the fairing of SpaceXs Falcon 9 rocket at an unknown location. — AFP
This undated handout photo released by Japanese firm ispace on April 25, 2023, shows the Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander stored in the fairing of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket at an unknown location. — AFP

Failed Hakuto-R moon-landing mission carried out by a Japanese startup  last month was due to an "altitude miscalculation."

The company said Friday that the spacecraft had run out of fuel during the mission, resulting in the mission's failure.

Tokyo-based ispace lost connection with the Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander after the spacecraft attempted what would have been the world's first commercial soft-landing on the moon's surface, Channel News Asia reported.

The crash follows a series of setbacks in Japan's space programme.

Previously, in March, the national space agency had to destroy its new medium-lift H3 rocket while in October, its solid-fuel Epsilon rocket failed after launch.

ispace said that it will work to make improvements for its second and third missions.

While speaking to reporters at the Japan National Press Club, ispace chief executive Takeshi Hakamada, said: "Through these two missions, it is very important for us to increase our knowledge as much as possible to achieve stable commercialisation in the future."

Whereas national space agencies dominated space exploration in decades past, numerous private players are competing in a new space race between the United States and its allies versus an increasingly ambitious China.

A second ispace mission is scheduled for 2024, with another M1 lander that will carry the company's own rover.

Later, starting in 2025, the company is set to work with US space software developer Draper to bring Nasa payloads to the moon, aiming to build a permanently staffed lunar colony by 2040.