Ispace, a Japanese space venture company, has reportedly failed in its attempt to land on the moon. The project, named “Hakuto-R,” aimed to be the world’s first private company to successfully land on the moon, but according to Japanese media reports, communication with the lunar lander was lost and there was a high possibility of a collision.
Takashi Hakamada, CEO of ispace, announced the news, stating that “it is judged that the lunar landing cannot be achieved as communication with the lunar lander is unlikely to be restored.” He added that “there is a high possibility that the spacecraft collided with the lunar surface.” The company later admitted to failing its mission.
Before the official announcement, Hakamada had stated that “Communication was confirmed before landing on the lunar surface, but there was no communication since the moment of landing.” He also said that “Engineers will review the data to determine what happened and whether the mission was a success or failure.”
Despite the setback, Hakamada commented that “obtaining data until landing is a significant achievement” and that “reviewing such achievements will be the foundation for raising the maturity of technology, including landing, in future missions.”
The ispace project received significant attention as it aimed to become the fourth country in the world to successfully land on the moon, following Russia, the United States, and China. Ispace plans to launch another mission next year and in 2025.
Established in 2010, Ispace developed the lunar lander with a team of about 200 people from over 25 countries. The lander was launched on a rocket by Elon Musk’s space and aerospace company SpaceX from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, last year on December 11. Inside were a 10kg ultra-small exploration vehicle called “Rashid” from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and a spherical robot jointly developed by Takara Tomy, a toy manufacturer, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
The lunar lander entered an orbit at an altitude of about 100 km after about four months of launch, enabling it to attempt a landing. The lander began to reduce its altitude and approach the lunar surface using gas injection, and attempted to land at 1:40 a.m. that day. However, as the state of the lunar lander was not confirmed for about 30 minutes, Hakamada officially announced the loss of communication.