The small Hakuto-R lunar rover and lander are currently on their way to the Moon, but managed to capture this starry landscape of Earth, making for an encouraging start to the Japanese special mission.
Tokyo-based ispace’s Hakuto-R spacecraft captured its first images since its launch Sunday, showing the first signs of life during a journey that is scheduled to take about four months.
probe It was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 2:38 a.m. ET on Dec. 11 from Space Force Station Cape Canaveral in Florida. About 19 hours after it separated from the launch vehicle, the Hakuto-R spacecraft took its first pictures with its camera, ispace. announce on Twitter.
Although the crescent shape is associated with the Moon, the image is actually that of Earth as seen from lunar space. Sunlight illuminates a small sliver of the planet, while a panel mounted on the spacecraft is visible in the right corner of the image.
The spacecraft took another image using a multi-camera imaging system developed by Canadensys Aerospace Corporation, revealing a more intimate view of Earth and its familiar blue hue.
Frank Titi, general manager at Canadensys, who designed and built the imaging system, said at statement. “Designing systems to operate in the harsh environment on the lunar surface is always a challenge, but we feel like we’ve solved it. We look forward to sharing equally amazing images when we touch the lunar surface.”
The Hakuto-R 1 (M1) mission will attempt to accomplish what no other private mission has accomplished before: successfully land on the moon. Israel’s SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries attempted to land the Beresheet lander on the moon in 2019. However, computer and communications problems led to Beresheet to crash on the moon.
If ispace becomes the first private company to land on the moon, it could be the beginning of a new era of commercial lunar landings. The Hakuto-R M1 probe will attempt to deliver its own payloads to the Moon, including 22 pounds (10 kilograms) Rashid Rover Manufactured by the United Arab Emirates and a transformable robot that looks like a ball, its name Sora-QDeveloped by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and TOMY Games.
But this is the Japanese company’s first test flight, and there’s still a long way to go. The Hakuto-R M1 lander is scheduled to rendezvous with the moon in April and attempt a landing thereafter. So far, ispace has confirmed that the probe has established a stable attitude, as well as a stable power source in orbit, the company Wrote on Twitter.
We’ll be following its journey closely, and hope for a nice moon landing a few months from now.
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