A Japanese private company, ispace, experienced a major setback in their attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon. The company’s lunar lander, named Hakuto, was set to touch down on April 25, but flight controllers lost communication “moments” before the scheduled landing, with the spacecraft just 33 feet from the lunar surface. This would have been the world’s first successful lunar landing from a private company’s own spacecraft, marking a significant milestone in space exploration. However, ispace founder Takeshi Hakamada believes that they did not complete the landing on the lunar surface.
Private Companies and Lunar Exploration
The attempt by ispace to land on the moon is part of a growing trend of private companies entering the realm of lunar exploration. In 2019, private companies from India and Israel made an attempt to land on the moon but failed. The United States is also trying to regain a foothold on the moon through its new Artemis space program, with the goal of establishing a “long-term, sustainable lunar presence” and conducting further research. While the Artemis II mission is planned for November 2024, it won’t be until 2025’s Artemis III mission that humans will land on the moon if all goes as planned.
SpaceX’s Starship Test Flight
Elon Musk’s SpaceX recently launched its first test flight for the world’s largest rocket and spacecraft, Starship. The launch was part of a $3 billion contract with the US government and was initially deemed a success by NASA. However, just minutes after launch, the rocket began to spin out of control, and SpaceX was forced to press a button and blow it up. Despite this setback, SpaceX and Musk remain committed to pushing the boundaries of space exploration.
The failure of ispace’s attempt to land on the moon highlights the many challenges that come with space exploration, even for private companies with advanced technology. However, it is essential to continue pushing the limits of what is possible in space because it could lead to significant advances in science and technology. Moreover, with private companies joining the space race, we could see further advancements and discovery in the years to come.