Hakuto-R and the distance record

Representatives from the Japanese company iSpace have announced that their probe Hakuto-R has set the distance record from Earth
Artist's rendering of the iSpace Hakuto-R lander on the moon. The spacecraft was launched on December 11, 2022 and is expected to land on the moon at the end of April 2023. Credit: iSpace

The Japanese lander Hakuto-R has set the record for the farthest distance from Earth last month on its journey to the Moon. The spacecraft reached 1.376 million kilometers from our planet on January 20th. “It becomes the farthest privately funded commercial probe from us” representatives of the Tokyo-based company Ispace, which built and operates the lander, said.

No privately funded lunar probe has gone farther. CAPSTONE, the NASA cubesat, went farther, reaching 1,531,948 km before entering lunar orbit last November. But CAPSTONE is operated by the company Advanced Space and is conducting a mission for NASA, so it is not purely a commercial effort.

Ispace statements

Hakuto-R was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on December 11th, kicking off an ambitious test flight to the moon. The lander is taking a high-energy-efficient path to our satellite. If everything goes according to plan, it will reach lunar orbit by the end of March and land the following month at the end of April.

A successful soft landing on the moon would be a huge achievement. The first for both the Japanese nation and a privately operated spacecraft. And success is very likely, as the probe is performing well in deep space, according to Ispace representatives.

“I am very pleased to announce that our first mission to the moon is going very well, and Hakuto-R has set the record for the farthest distance from Earth” said Chief Technical Officer Ryo Ujiie of the company during a press call on February 27th. Although it is a test flight, Hakuto-R is carrying operational payloads, including a tiny rover called Rashid for the United Arab Emirates space agency.

Future missions

The current mission is not a one-off for Ispace. The company aims to launch robotic landing missions in both 2024 and 2025. Many more missions will follow as part of an ambitious effort to help humanity establish a sustainable economic footprint in the Earth-Moon space.

Ispace representatives revealed some new details about the next two flights, known as Mission 2 and Mission 3. Mission 2 lander will carry, among other payloads, a module designed to conduct the first food production experiment on the moon using the microalga Euglena. The 2025 Mission 3 will feature some space race vehicles. “To support communications on the far side of the moon, the Mission 3 lander will deploy two communication satellites designed to remain in lunar orbit for more years” Ispace representatives added in statements to the press

Notify of
0 Commenti
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Exit mobile version