Hakuto-R spacecraft disappears during the Moon landing

Specialists of the Japanese company iSpace have lost contact with the Hakuto-R spacecraft. This happened a few seconds before it landed. Most likely, the spacecraft crashed on the lunar surface.

Hakuto-R spacecraft. Source: iSpace

Hakuto-R was launched on December 11, 2022. In March 2023, it entered a permanent orbit around the Moon. There were several scientific instruments on board the spacecraft, as well as the Rashid, a 10-kilogram rover built by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (UAE).

On April 25, 2023, Hakuto-R started landing. The spacecraft was supposed to land on the territory of the Atlas crater. This 87-kilometer shock formation is located in the northern part of the visible side of the moon of our planet. A lot of attention was focused on the event, because if successful, iSpace would become the first private company in history to land its spacecraft on the Moon.

Most of the descent took place in normal mode. However, less than 30 seconds before landing, when the Hakuto-R was at an altitude of 80 meters, contact with it was lost. At that moment, the spacecraft was moving at a speed of more than 30 km/h.

Despite numerous attempts, iSpace specialists failed to get in touch with the spacecraft. In its statement, the company acknowledged that, most likely, the Hakuto-R crashed during the descent. It is expected that in the near future, the landing area of the Japanese spacecraft will be photographed by the American LRO probe. Its pictures can clarify the fate of Hakuto-R.

Recall that this is not the first case of the loss of a lunar vehicle during landing. A similar case occurred with the Bereshit probe built by the Israeli non-profit organization SpaceIL in 2019. Just a few months after this event, India lost the lander of the Chandrayaan-2 mission, on board of which its first lunar rover was located. The LRO spacecraft later photographed the crater that remained of it.

According to https://spacenews.com

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