Japanese company ispace’s attempt to launch a lunar lander on the moon appears to have failed as engineers lost contact with the vehicle when it was expected to touchdown.
The device launched from Florida on a SpaceX rocket in December and was set to touch down at 12:40 p.m. EST Tuesday, per Reuters. (RELATED: Elon Musk’s Rocket Bursts Into Flames Minutes After Launching)
BREAKING: Japan’s ispace says Moon landing may have failed, no contact with spacecraft pic.twitter.com/afscUiPSJ9
— BNO News Live (@BNODesk) April 25, 2023
“We lost the communication, so we have to assume that we could not complete the landing on the lunar surface,” ispace CEO Takeshi Hakamada said on a livestream. Engineers in mission control were awaiting confirmation M1 touched down on the moon, but no confirmation came, Reuters reported.
“Our engineers will continue to investigate the situation,” Hakamade said. “At this moment, what I can tell is we are very proud of the fact that we have already achieved many things during this mission 1.”
The device completed eight out of its 10 space missions and will provide ispace valuable data for its next attempt to reach the moon, Hakamade stated, Reuters reported. The mission 2 device for ispace’s next moon landing attempt is already under construction.
An hour before the spacecraft was set to land, the device began its landing phase and slowly narrowed its orbit around the moon. It went from 62 miles above the surface to 15.5 miles above the surface traveling at an estimated 3,700 mph, Reuters reported.
The lunar lander was supposed to approach a landing site at the moon’s northern hemisphere before deploying one two-wheeled and one four-wheeled rover.