A Japanese private space company, ispace, can potentially create history today, April 25. The firm will be attempting its maiden lunar landing later today and if it is successful, it will become the first private organization to achieve this feat. So far, the Moon landing is an achievement that only government-backed space organizations have been able to successfully complete. The historic mission will see the Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander gradually begin its descent into the lunar surface in just a few hours.
As per reports, the landing time for the Hakuto-R lander is 1640 GMT (12:40 PM EDT, 10:10 PM IST). The attempts for the descent will begin at 1540 GMT (11:40 AM EDT, 9: 10 PM IST) and will continue for an hour to ensure a well-controlled landing. The primary landing site for the mission is Atlas Crater which is located at the southeastern outer edge of Mare Frigoris (Sea of Cold).
“Should conditions change, there are three alternative landing sites and depending on the site, the landing date may change. Alternative landing dates, depending on the operational status, are April 26, May 1, and May 3, 2023,” ispace stated on April 12.
Ispace to attempt historic Moon landing
The Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander is just over two meters tall and weighs roughly about 340 kilograms. It was launched in December 2022 using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The lander reached a distance of about 100 kilometers from the surface of the moon and placed itself in a circular orbit around it. During this time, the lander captured some stunning images of the Moon and the Earth.
Despite all the excitement, success is not guaranteed. In April 2019, the Israeli organization SpaceIL attempted the same feat but the lander ended up crashing onto the surface of the Moon. It now remains to be seen whether ispace manages to finally achieve this milestone.
If you are interested in watching the live stream of the Moon landing attempt by Hakuto-R lander, then you can go to the official YouTube channel of ispace. Alternatively, you can just click this link. The live stream will begin at 1500 GMT (11 AM EDT, 8:30 PM IST).
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