The Japanese lunar spacecraft apparently crashed on the moon
The Japanese company ISpace has lost contact with the small robotic spacecraft it sent to the moon. Analysis of the data shows that the spacecraft used up all its fuel during its final approach to the moon and crashed on the lunar surface instead of making a soft landing.
According to the New York TimesThe 2.2-meter Hakuto-R lunar rover, built by ISpace, fired its main engine and left lunar orbit on Tuesday to land on the moon. The spacecraft was expected to land approximately one hour later at 20:10 Iran time in the Atlas Crater, an area 87 km northeast of the moon’s zenith.
But after the scheduled landing time, no signal was received from the spacecraft. In a video broadcast live by ISSPACE, a heavy silence reigned in the mission control room in Tokyo; Where the company’s engineers, mostly young people of different nationalities, looked at their screens with worried faces.
In a statement released Wednesday, ISSpace reported that the company’s engineers discovered that when Hakuto-R landed, the spacecraft’s estimated remaining fuel was at a low level, and shortly thereafter, the spacecraft’s descent speed increased rapidly. In other words, the spacecraft ran out of fuel and crashed on the moon.
Then communication with Hakuto-R was lost. “Therefore, it has been determined that the lander most likely experienced a hard landing on the lunar surface after all,” says ISpace. Now the investigation must determine why the spacecraft apparently misjudged its altitude. Analyzes show that the lander was still at altitude when it should have landed on the moon’s surface.
Takeshi HakamadaIn an interview, the CEO of ISpace said that despite the fall of Hakuto-R, he is very proud of the result and does not feel disappointed. Hakamada said that with the data obtained from the spacecraft, ISPACE will be able to apply “lessons learned” to its next two missions.
Hakuto-R spacecraft Last year, Azar was launched on top of the SpaceX rocket and by being placed on a winding path that required low fuel consumption, it went to the moon. The rover finally entered lunar orbit in March and stayed there until recently for company engineers to check the landing system before attempting to land on the lunar surface.