Japan postpones ‘Moon Sniper’ liftoff for third time

Due to bad weather, Japan’s space agency postponed the launch of its “Moon Sniper” lunar mission on Monday for a third time.

A research satellite created in collaboration with NASA and the European Space Agency was also being launched aboard the H2-A rocket from Tanegashima, an island in southern Japan.

After India successfully landed a probe on the Moon last week, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) did not announce a new launch date for the mission.

The mission was canceled, according to MHI Launch Services, the rocket’s co-developer, on the social media website X, “because it was confirmed that the upper wind does not satisfy the constraints at launch”.

India, the most populous country in the world, and its low-cost space program achieved a historic victory last week when a spacecraft it sent to the Moon’s south pole touched down.

Only the United States, Russia, and China had previously been able to land a spacecraft on the moon, and none had reached the south pole.

India’s achievement occurred four years after a previous Indian mission ended abruptly in failure and just days after a Russian probe crashed in the same area.

Japan has also tried before, attempting last year to land a lunar probe named Omotenashi, carried on NASA’s Artemis 1, but the mission went wrong and communications were lost.

In April, Japanese start-up ispace failed in an ambitious attempt to become the first private company to land on the Moon, losing communication after what the firm called a “hard landing”.

The “Moon Sniper” is so called because JAXA is aiming to land it within 100 metres (330 feet) of a specific target on the Moon, far less than the usual range of several kilometres.

Japan has also had problems with launch rockets, with failures after liftoff of the next-generation H3 model in March and the normally reliable solid-fuel Epsilon the previous October.

This article has been posted by a News Hour Correspondent. For queries, please contact through [email protected]
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