Japanese startup ispace’s attempt at the first private Moon landing has failed after the lunar lander lost contact with engineers. The Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander was unable to communicate with engineers as it neared the Moon’s surface, leading to the conclusion that the landing could not be completed. The lander had been launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, last December, with the aim of touching down on the Moon’s surface on Tuesday.
Status of Lander Unknown
Following the loss of communication, ispace’s engineers and mission operations specialists in the mission control center worked to confirm the status of the lander. The lander was carrying two lunar rovers, one from the United Arab Emirates and another made by Sony and Japanese toy company Tomy. Further information on the status of the lander will be announced as it becomes available.
Japan’s Lunar Missions
While Japan’s national space agencies have yet to attempt a Moon landing, they made their first lunar mission in 1990, when the Hiten spacecraft orbited the Moon and captured data on cosmic dust. The country plans to make another attempt at a Moon landing later this year with the heavily-delayed Smart Lander for Investigating Moon.