NASA has found the probe that crashed into the Moon on April 25

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In orbitorbit lunar, the LRO was able to take several images of the site where the probe was supposed to land. Ten images were taken the day after the crash by the cameras at high resolutionresolution. They covered the surface for tens of kilometres. From these images, the teams began to look for traces of impact.

Crash analysis will continue

By comparing with an image taken before the crash, the teams were able to locate pixelspixels with a different shine, highlighting different debris, as well as the precise location of the impact. The analysis will still continue in the coming months, using additional images taken from different viewpoints, and with different surface insolation.

It was one of the first moon landing attempts by a private probe. After a journey lasting several months, the probe underwent a anomaliesanomalies during its descent and the operators lost contact. Flight data is still being analyzed, but the hypothesis that the probe ran out of fuel during its descent is now out of the question. Another lunar mission is planned for the end of 2024 for iSpace. It will include a landerlander identical to Hakuto-R, as well as a roverrover developed by the Japanese company. It will replace the Emirati rover Rashid, lost in the crash.

The Hakuto-R private probe failed to land on the Moon but the adventure does not end there

This Tuesday, April 25, the Hakuto-R lander attempted to land on the surface of the LuneLune, but failed. Contact was lost shortly before touchdown and the failure was confirmed a few hours later. The probe was developed by the Japanese company iSpace. This is one of the first moon landing attempts by a private probe.

Article of Daniel ChristianDaniel Christianpublished on April 26, 2023

Mission 1 (M1M1) of the Hakuto-R probe had taken off in December 2022. Its journey from Earth to the Moon had lasted more than a hundred days, along a particular trajectory that took it up to 1,500,000 kilometers from our Planet, before entering into lunar orbit.

The perilous descent to the surface

The mission was broken down into ten milestones. The first eight concerned take-off, travel and operations in lunar orbit. All have been successfully crossed. The moon landing was to take place on the visible side, this Tuesday, April 26 at 6:40 p.m. Paris time (01:40 a.m. Tokyo time, where the control center – MCC is located). But the pose failed. A few minutes before zero hour, Hakuto-R stops broadcasting. After 20 minutes of unsuccessful attempts, iSpace concludes that it has failed to regain contact with the lander. Later, iSpace confirms the failure in a press release. Crews inferred from flight data received that the lander completed its descent vertically during final approach, but ran out of fuel to finish braking. There vitessevitesse had started to rise before the loss of contact, meaning a certain crash.

Relive the launch live. © iSpace

The descent consisted of six phases:

  • phase 1 (1 min): deorbit and insertion in the descent trajectory with ignition of the main and auxiliary engines (altitude: 100 km, speed: 5800 km/h);
  • phase 2 (53 min): free fall, motors off. Until a few minutes before the end of this phase, the MCC receives no telemetry because the probe is behind the Moon (altitude down to 25 km, speed: 6,000 km/h);
  • phase 3 (10 min): braking using the motors (altitude descending to 3 km, speed descending to 380 km/h);
  • phase 4 (1 min): the probe changes direction while continuing to brake, and positions itself facing the surface (altitude descending to 1,000 m, speed descending to 120 km/h);
  • phase 5 (40 s): final vertical descent (altitude down to 20 m, speed down to 17 km/h);
  • phase 6 (20 s): landed with a final speed of 2.6 km/h, only using the auxiliary engines.

The Moon is very rough with novices

iSpace is investigating the origins of this failure. It was the first attempt, which means a success would have been a hell of a performance! In recent decades, the Moon has smiled only on Chinese missions. India and the Israeli Beresheet mission had failed in recent years. Hakuto-R is also from the same generation of private lunar probes as Beresheet. Both were finalists in the X-Prize challenge sponsored by GoogleGoogle.

Like them, iSpace is not giving up and is planning a second mission in 2024 (already funded), and a third in 2025. The Hakuto-R probe is also partly built in Europe (its propulsion system is provided by ArianeGroup) . The company is a partner of ArianeGroup to land a European lander which will take off with Ariane 6.

Technical details of Hakuto-R. The probe can carry up to two small 10-kilogram rovers, as well as other government or commercial payloads. Mission 1 notably had on board the experimental mini-rover Rashid, from the Emirati space agency. © iSpace

For the first time in history, a private probe will land on the Moon tomorrow and deploy a rover

The event will be inscribed with a white stone in the history of space exploration: for the first time, a private probe will land on the Moon. This is the Hakuto-R probe from the Japanese company iSpace. The landing is scheduled for tomorrow Tuesday, April 25 at 6:40 p.m. Paris time.

Article by Daniel Chrétien, published on April 24, 2023

It has been a long journey to get to today. Unlike missions ApolloApollo which took 4 days to reach the Moon, Hakuto-R took several months. She had taken off on December 11 from Cape Canaveral aboard a Falcon 9Falcon 9 de SpaceX.

From the Earth to the moon

Hakuto-R weighs one ton, of which 660 kgkg fuel. This is too little to ensure a direct route to the Moon. The probe therefore followed a very long trajectory similar to that of the South Korean probe Danuri. The probe first moved away 1,500,000 kilometers from Earth before returning to enter lunar orbit. Gradually, the probe reduced its altitude to 100 kilometers above the surface, the last milestone before landing.

The landing will be done in the plain basaltbasalt Lacus Somniorum, on the visible side. The descent will follow several sequences of braking and trajectory corrections. The descent will end vertically before landing on the surface.

Several new passengers on board

Hakuto-R is an automatic lunar lander whose development dates back to the X-Prize challenge sponsored by Google, and whose objective was to send probes to the surface of the Moon before 2018. For lack of a winner, the competition was canceled but the finalists remained in the race, among them: iSpace.

During its first mission (M1), the Hakuto-R probe carries with it several payloads. The most notable is the Emirati space agency’s Rashid mini lunar rover, weighing 10 kilos and equipped with guidance cameras provided by Cnes. Also on board is a 255-gram micro-rover! It was developed by toymaker Tomy with help from Mitsubishi Electric and Sony. Another Jaxa micro-rover (japanese space agencyjapanese space agency) is also on board. Finally, the lander hosts other technology demonstration experiments.

SpaceX will send a Japanese lander and an Emirati rover to the Moon

For the first time in its history, Japan will send a probe to the Moon. This is the Hakuto-R M1 private probe, the first milestone in the program of the Japanese company iSpace. Also on board is the Emirati mini-rover Rashid.

Article by Daniel Chrétien, published on 1is December 2022

The take-off by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 was to take place from Cape Canaveral a few days ago. Following a first postponement on November 30 to allow final checks, the result led to a new indefinite postponement.

iSpace is a start-upstart-up which has survived time. It was based on the work of a team that had responded to the XPrize challenge, the objective of which was to send a rover to the Moon before 2018. No winner. Google withdrew from the challenge, which eventually disappeared, but iSpace continued to work on its lunar lander with its Hakuto-R program.

The first private mission to the Moon in history

iSpace’s Hakuto-R program has two missions: a first in the coming days to test the lander’s ability to land on lunar soil, and a second in 2024 with an additional rover. Like any future program mission, Hakuto-R M1 carries private and government payloads.

After takeoff, Hakuto-R M1’s journey will last several months, during which the probe will gradually increase its altitude in Earth orbit, until it injects itself into translunar orbit. Then, the probe will stay in lunar orbit for two weeks before touching down in the Atlas crater on the southeastern edge of the Frigoris Sea, a place allowing the probe to be illuminated by the Sun.

Once landed, Hakuto-R M1 will deploy the Emirati rover Rashid, which will do a few spins on the lunar ground. The flight also carries the cubesatcubesat Lunar Flashlight you Jet Propulsion Laboratorywhich will fire lasers into permanently shadowed lunar South Pole craters to reveal the presence of water ice.

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