Japan’s ispace lander heading for the moon with UAE rover on board

(ORDO NEWS) — Tokyo-based ispace sent its lander to the moon with the UAE’s first lunar rover as a payload. The launch was carried out using a SpaceX launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral.

The launch was originally scheduled to take place two weeks ago, but was delayed by SpaceX due to additional testing of the rocket.

The lander will take almost five months to reach the Moon. ispace has designed its vessel to use as little fuel as possible and leave more room for cargo.

The spacecraft will make a slow, low-energy flight to the moon, reaching its surface in late April. The ispace lander is aimed at the Atlas crater in the northeastern part of the near side of the moon.

The Rashid lunar rover aboard ispace was named after the UAE royal family. It weighs only 10 kilograms and will work on the surface for about 10 days.

Also, the descent vehicle will deliver a small sphere from the Japan Space Agency to the Moon, which will turn into a wheeled robot.

Also on board are a battery from a Japanese spark plug company, an Ottawa-based company’s on-board computer with AI to determine the geological features of the moon, and 360-degree cameras from a Toronto-based company.

The ispace mission is called Hakuto, which translates to “white rabbit”. Asian folklore says that the white rabbit lives on the moon.

The second landing of a private company on the moon is scheduled for 2024, and the third – for 2025.

ispace is on track to become one of the first private companies to attempt a moon landing. While lunar landers built with Astrobotic Technology and Intuitive Machines won’t launch until early next year, they could outperform ispace on their way to the Moon thanks to their shorter flight times.

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