Friday, September 29, 2023

This is how the space moon landing attempt ended

Japanese company Espace revealed on Friday that the lunar landing module fell perhaps 5 kilometers before crashing into the lunar surface after a historic attempt to soft-land on the moon.

According to the company, the error was probably due to a software problem and an incorrect measurement of the spacecraft’s altitude when it was trying to land on the Moon.

“Based on a review of the flight data, it was observed that when the lander was moving towards the intended landing site, there was a rapid increase in altitude as measured by the onboard sensors as it passed through a large rock of about 3 km height on the lunar surface. The surface, which was determined to be the rim of a crater, according to a press release Friday from Space, which built the spacecraft.

The Hakuto-R lunar lander was aiming to make history in late April as it attempted to become the first spacecraft developed by a private company, rather than a government space agency, to make a controlled landing on the Moon. The landing module also contained a rover developed in the United Arab Emirates.

However, shortly after Hakuto-R’s scheduled landing time, flight controllers on the ground revealed that they were not able to immediately establish contact, leading the company to believe that the craft was lost.

The spacecraft’s fate was confirmed this week when NASA announced that its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter had captured 10 images of the Hakuto-R landing site and found what appears to be at least four crash-landing debris.

According to an iSpace press release, “The lander estimated its altitude to be at zero, or the lunar surface, but was later determined to be approximately 5 kilometers above the lunar surface.” “After reaching the scheduled landing time, the lunar lander continued to descend at low speed until the propulsion system ran out of fuel. At that point, the lander’s controlled descent ended, and it is believed that it landed on the Moon. has fallen freely on the surface of the

moon landing attempt

The Lunar Landing Module was launched on December 11 on a SpaceX rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft made a three-month journey to the Moon, which is approximately 384,600 kilometers from Earth.

Hakuto-R entered orbit around its target using a low energy trajectory. Overall, the journey carried the lunar lander about 1.4 million kilometers in space.

In a press conference held this Friday, Takeshi Hakamada, CEO of Espace, reiterated that the Hakuto-R spacecraft was able to transmit data until the failed attempt to land on the Moon. Hakamada said the company received valuable data to fine-tune its lunar lander design for another attempt.

The lander carried the Rashid rover, the first Arab-built lunar spacecraft developed by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Only three countries have performed controlled landings on the Moon: the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China. The United States is the only country to have landed humans on the Moon.

The Japanese company Espace took a different approach than previous lunar missions, attempting to land its spacecraft as a private company and not under the flag of a single country.

Even before the failed attempt to land on the Moon, iSpace had prepared for setbacks. “While acknowledging the possibility of an anomaly during the mission, the results will be weighed and assessed against criteria and incorporated into future missions already under development,” the company said in a publication on December 11.

Had the moon landing been successful, the 22-pound Rashid rover would have been expected to be launched from the Hakuto-R. Rashid would have spent “much of a 14-day lunar day exploring the Atlas crater in the moon’s northeast,” according to the European Space Agency, which helped design the rover’s wheels.

iSPACE story
Japanese company Ispace is one of several companies competing in the Google Lunar XPrize, which offered a $20 million reward to the firm that can land a robotic rover on the Moon, travel a few thousand meters, and collect data. can be sent back to Earth.

The Google-sponsored space race was terminated in 2018 when no competitor was able to meet the deadline, but Ispace was among the companies that decided to move forward with the mission.

Israel-based company SpaceIL was the first Xprize competitor to attempt to place its lander on the Moon after the program ended. The Israeli spacecraft Beresheet crashed in 2019 after the ground crew lost contact with the lunar lander as it approached the surface.

In the same year, the Indian Organization for Space and Research lost contact with a lunar lander shortly before landing on the Moon. Communication with the spacecraft was never recovered, and images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter later revealed the crash site and the mission’s final resting place.

Among Ispace’s future plans is a mission to collect lunar soil samples as part of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to use commercial lunar landers to explore the lunar surface.

with information from cnn

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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