SpaceX launches Japanese spacecraft and UAE rover to the moontext_fields
Washington: Elon Musk's SpaceX on Sunday launched a spacecraft built by a Japanese startup. This was Japan's first-ever lunar mission.
The spacecraft was made by Tokyo-based ispace and it is the first such effort by a private company. It was launched in Cape Canaveral in the US state of Florida after two postponements for additional pre-flight checks. It took off aboard a Falcon 9 rocket at 2:38 am (0738 GMT), reported AFP.
ispace is aiming to extend the sphere of human life into space and create a sustainable world by providing high-frequency, low-cost transportation services to the Moon. The startup has only 200 employees.
CEO Takeshi Hakamada said the company's startup's first mission will lay the groundwork for unleashing the moon's potential and transforming it into a robust and vibrant economic system. The mission is called Hakuto-R which means 'White Rabbit' in Japanese.
ispace's lunar lander will touch down on the visible side of the Moon in April 2023. So far, only the United States, Russia, and China have put a robot on the Moon. The ispace lunar lander is also carrying two robots made by Japan's space agency. It also has a disc with the song "SORATO" by the Japanese rock band Sakanaction.
It carries a 10-kg rover called Rashid built by the UAE. The Gulf nation is a newbie in the space race and sent a probe into Mars' orbit last year. Rashid is UAE's first Moon mission.