Lunar lander launch postponed for third time

Bad weather conditions are pointed out. This is the third time that the takeoff of a Japanese rocket to convey a lunar lander has been postponed, this Monday. After the announcement, at the last moment, no new date has yet been set.

The H2-A rocket was to take off Monday morning from the Japanese space agency’s (Jaxa) launch base in Tanegashima, in the southwest of the archipelago. The countdown continued at least until 30 minutes before launch, but Jaxa and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), in charge of the launch, said the mission was canceled on Monday due to strong winds in altitude.

The “Moon Sniper”

Regarding the next date for the mission, it will take “at least three days” and check the weather conditions, explained at a press conference Tatsuru Tokunaga, the launch manager at MHI. The Japanese rocket must take into space a lunar lander called SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating the Moon) nicknamed “Moon Sniper”, supposed to test high-precision moon landing technology, at a maximum of 100 meters from its target against several kilometers usually .

XRISM, a satellite jointly developed by Jaxa, the American NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) for an X-ray imaging and spectroscopy mission, must also be on the trip. India successfully landed its first spacecraft on the moon last week. Before her, only the United States, the Soviet Union and China had ever made successful moon landings.

Two failures at the Japanese counter

Russia has just failed in a new attempt, its Luna-25 probe having crashed on August 19 on the lunar soil. Japan had already tried last November to land a mini-probe on the Moon, on board the American mission Artemis 1. But communication with “Omotenashi” (“hospitality” in Japanese) had been lost shortly after the ejection of this probe in space, due to a failure of its batteries.

And in April this year, a young private Japanese company, ispace, failed to land its Hakuto-R module, which probably crashed on the surface of Earth’s natural satellite.

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