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Japan: The launch of the lunar lander was postponed for the third time

Japan: The launch of the lunar lander was postponed for the third time

The take-off of a Japanese rocket to transport the lunar lander was postponed, Monday, for the third time – and this time at the last minute – due to bad weather, and a new date has not been set yet.

The H2-A rocket was scheduled to lift off Monday morning from the Japan Aerospace Agency (JAXA) launch base in Tanegashima, in the southwest of the archipelago.

The countdown continued until at least 30 minutes before the launch, but JAXA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which are in charge of the launch, said the mission was canceled on Monday due to strong winds at altitude.

As for the next date of the mission, it will take “at least three days” and check weather conditions, Tatsuru Tokunaga, MHI’s launch manager, explained at a press conference.

The Japanese rocket is scheduled to take a lunar lander called SLIM (Intelligent Lunar Exploration Landing Vehicle) nicknamed “Moon Sniper” into space. It is supposed to test high-precision lunar landing technology, at a maximum distance of 100 meters from its target against several kilometers usually. .

Also on the flight should be XRISM, a satellite jointly developed by JAXA, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) for the X-ray imaging and spectroscopy mission.

India successfully landed its first spacecraft on the moon last week. Prior to that, only the United States, the Soviet Union and China had successfully landed on the moon.

Russia has just failed in another attempt, as its Luna 25 probe crashed on August 19 into lunar soil.

Japan had already attempted last November to land a small probe on the moon, aboard the American mission Artemis 1. But contact with “Omotenashi” (“hospitality” in Japanese) was lost shortly after this probe was ejected into space. due to its batteries failing.

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And in April this year, a young private Japanese company, iSpace, failed to land its Hakuto-R module, which likely crashed on the surface of Earth’s natural satellite.