SpaceX prepares to launch the world’s first private lunar lander

(ORDO NEWS) — SpaceX will launch the first private – and Japanese – moon lander.

The Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to lift off at 3:39 am (0839 GMT) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with a backup date of Thursday.

So far, only the United States, and China have managed to send a robot to the surface of the moon.

Mission, author The Japanese company ispace is the first participant in the program called Hakuto-R.

According to the company, the lander should land around April 2023 on the visible side of the moon, in the Atlas crater.

Measuring just over 2 by 2.5 meters (6.5 by 8 feet), on board is a 10-kilogram Rashid all-terrain vehicle built in the United Arab Emirates.

The oil-rich country is new to the space race but has had recent successes including the launch of a Mars probe in 2020. If this succeeds, Rashid will be the first mission to the moon in the Arab world.

“We have achieved so much in the six short years since we first started conceptualizing this professional ject in 2016,” said ispace CEO Takeshi Hakamada.

Hakuto was one of five finalists for the Google Lunar XPrize international competition, the challenge of landing a rover on the moon before the 2018 deadline, which ended without a winner. But some of the projects are still ongoing.

Another finalist from the Israeli organization SpaceIL failed in April 2019 to become the first private mission to achieve such success after crashing into the surface while attempting to land.

ispace, which has just 200 employees, says it “is committed to expanding the scope of human life into space and creating a sustainable world by providing high-frequency, low-cost transportation services to the Moon.” .

Future missions should contribute to the NASA Artemis program. Artemis-1, an unmanned test flight to the Moon, is currently underway.

The US space agency wants to develop the lunar economy in the coming years by building a space station in orbit around the moon and a base on the surface.

He has contracts with several companies to develop landers to bring scientific experiments to the surface.

Among them, the US companies Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines are due to take off in. According to reports, they may arrive at their destination earlier than ispace by choosing a more direct route.

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