As a relic of the Lunar X Prize’s legacy, it also bears a plaque inscribed with the names of people who provided crowdfunding support and a music disc with a song performed by Japanese rock band Sakanaction.
The Japanese company’s lander isn’t the only passenger on Sunday’s flight. The secondary payload on Falcon 9 is a small NASA mission, the Lunar Flashlight, which aims to enter an elliptical orbit around the moon and use an infrared laser to explore the deep, dark craters in the moon’s polar regions.
Why is it taking so long for Ispace to reach the moon?
Like so many recent lunar missions, M1 is making a circuitous, energy-efficient trip to the moon and won’t touch down, in the Atlas crater in the moon’s northern hemisphere, until late April. The fuel-efficient route allows the mission to pack more payload and carry less fuel.
Who are the other moon visitors?
As part of the Artemis I mission, NASA’s Orion spacecraft traveled to and then orbited the Moon. It will return to Earth later Sunday, with a splash in the Pacific Ocean.
A small NASA-funded mission called CAPSTONE has recently arrived to explore an orbit where NASA plans to build a lunar base where astronauts will stop on their way to the moon.
And while it hasn’t arrived yet, the moon will receive a third new visitor next month. Danuri, a South Korean space probeThey were launched in August and are scheduled to enter lunar orbit on December 16. The spacecraft will help develop technology for future Korean missions, and it also carries scientific instruments to study the moon’s chemical composition and magnetic field.
Are other companies trying what Ispace is doing?
NASA program called Commercial Lunar Payload Services, or CLPSHe was looking forward to sending experiments to the lunar surface. The first two missions, from Intuitive Machines of Houston and Astrobotic Technology of Pittsburgh, plan to launch next year after significant delays. The Intuitive Machines lander, which can be launched as early as March, can beat Ispace to get to the moon because it uses a fast six-day trajectory.
Because it is not a US company, Ispace could not participate directly in the NASA program. However, he is part of a team led by Draper Technologies in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that won the CLPS mission from NASA. This mission is scheduled to launch in 2025.
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