In a bittersweet turn of events, the Hakuto-R Mission 1 lunar lander, developed by Japanese company Ispace and carrying the UAE's first lunar rover, lost contact with ground controllers moments before its anticipated touchdown on the Moon's surface.

  • The mission aimed to make history as the first lunar landing by a commercially-developed spacecraft, but now its future hangs in the balance.

Zoom In: Launched in December aboard a SpaceX rocket from Florida, the lander carried payloads from NASA and JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, in addition to the UAE rover.

  • After a journey of 870,000 miles over three months, the lander entered lunar orbit, only to lose contact during its final approach.
  • Ispace suspects the lander made a "hard landing," making mission success unattainable.

Zoom Out: As it stands, the U.S., Russia, and China remain the only countries to have successfully landed a robotic device on the Moon.

  • Undeterred, Ispace plans to analyze the data, learn from this experience, and work towards future successful lunar landing missions.
  • The company has two more missions lined up, with Mission 2 scheduled for 2024 and Mission 3 in 2025.
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