SpaceX Delays Japanese Moon Lander Launch; Here's What Happened

SpaceX Delays Japanese Moon Lander Launch; Here's What Happened
Photo Credit: ispace

SpaceX has yet again postponed the launch of a Moon lander, developed by a Japanese space company called ispace. The launch will create history as it will be the world’s first private lander to go to the lunar surface.


The mission was scheduled to launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on December 15 from Cape Canaveral in the US state of Florida. However, SpaceX said more checks on the spacecraft forced a delay.

What’s The Reason Behind The Delay?

"After further inspections of the launch vehicle and data review, we're standing down from tomorrow's launch of @ispace_inc's HAKUTO-R Mission 1; a new target launch date will be shared once confirmed," ispace tweeted.

As of now, the US, China, and Russia have successfully landed a robot on the Moon. The mission by ispace is the first program dubbed Hakuto-R. The lander is expected to touchdown on the lunar soil around April 2023 on the visible side of the Moon, in the Atlas crater, as per the company’s statement. The take-off was delayed due to the need for additional checks, SpaceX and ispace said.

Exploring The Lunar Surface

The lander measures only 2 by 2.5 meters and it will be carrying a 10kg rover called Rashid, created by the United Arab Emirates. The country is a new entrant in the space race but already has successful launches with its Mars probe. If things go as intended, Rashid will be the country’s first Moon mission.

"We have achieved so much in the six short years since we first began conceptualizing this project in 2016," said Takeshi Hakamada, ispace CEO.

Small Firm Aiming Big

Hakuto made it to the finals of the international Google Lunar XPrize competition, a challenge to land a rover on the lunar surface before a 2018 deadline, which didn’t see a winner. However, some of the projects are still in the works.


Another finalist, developed by Israeli organization SpaceIL, couldn’t make its way to become the first privately-funded mission to achieve the feat after it crashed while attempting touchdown.

ispace is a small firm with just 200 employees. The company says it "aims to extend the sphere of human life into space and create a sustainable world by providing high-frequency, low-cost transportation services to the Moon."

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