Japanese Spacecraft's Moon Landing Appears to Fail

Ground control loses contact as unmanned spacecraft attempts to touch down
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 25, 2023 12:57 PM CDT
Japanese Lunar Lander Is Lost in Presumed Crash
This illustration provided by ispace earlier this month depicts the Hakuto spacecraft on the surface of the moon with the Earth in the background.   (ispace via AP)

A Japanese company lost contact with its spacecraft moments before touchdown on the moon Wednesday, and the lunar lander is presumed to have crashed, per the AP. Contact was lost as the lander descended the final 33 feet while traveling around 16 mph. Controllers peered at their screens in Tokyo, expressionless, as the minutes went by with no word from the spacecraft. “We have to assume that we could not complete the landing on the lunar surface," said ispace CEO Takeshi Hakamada.

The company wanted to become the first private business to pull off a lunar landing. Only three governments have successfully landed on the moon: Russia, the United States, and China. An Israeli nonprofit tried to land on the moon in 2019, but its spacecraft was destroyed on impact. The 7-foot lander Japanese lander carried a mini lunar rover for the United Arab Emirates and a toylike robot from Japan designed to roll around in the moon dust. There were also items from private customers on board.

(More moon stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.