© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A model of the lander in the HAKUTO-R lunar exploration program of “ispace” is photographed at a site to monitor its landing on the Moon, in Tokyo, Japan, April 26 April 2023. REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese startup ispace inc failed its Hakuto-R moon landing mission last month due to a miscalculation of altitude that caused the spacecraft to run out of fuel, the company said. on Friday.
Tokyo-based ispace lost connection with the Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander after the spacecraft performed the world’s first commercial soft landing on the lunar surface.
The crash was the latest setback in Japan’s space program. The National Space Agency in March had to destroy their new H3 rocket, and their solid-fuel Epsilon rocket failed after launch in October.
ispace says improvements will be made to the second and third missions.
ispace CEO Takeshi Hakamada told reporters at the National Press Club of Japan: “Through these two missions, it is very important for us to improve our knowledge as much as possible. possible to achieve stable commercialization in the future”.
While national space agencies dominated space exploration decades ago, many private players are competing in a new space race between the United States and its allies and a China. The nation is increasingly ambitious.
NASA has relied on Elon Musk’s SpaceX to carry many of its payloads into orbit, and last week the agency awarded the lunar lander contract to a team led by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.
A second ispace mission is scheduled for 2024, with another M1 lander due to carry the company’s rover. From 2025, the company will work with US space software developer Draper to send NASA payloads to the moon, aiming to build a permanently staffed lunar colony by 2040.