The launch was carried out by Elon Musk’s SpaceX in Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, after being postponed twice due to additional pre-flight checks.
The spacecraft, built by Tokyo-based startup ispace, was launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket at 2:38 am (0738 GMT), showing live footage of the launch.
“Our first mission is to unlock the potential of the Moon and lay the groundwork for transforming it into a robust and vibrant economic system,” said Takeshi Hakamada, CEO of the startup, in a statement. rice field. So far, only the United States, Russia and China have successfully sent robots to the moon.
The ispace mission is the first mission of a program called Hakuto-R, which means “white rabbit” in Japanese.
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According to the company, its lunar lander is scheduled to land on the visible side of the moon in April 2023, which is the year of the rabbit in Japan.
At just over 2 x 2.5 meters, the spacecraft has a payload that includes a 10-kilogram rover manufactured by the United Arab Emirates.
The Gulf nations are newcomers to the space race, but last year sent a rover into Mars orbit. If the rover named Rashid successfully lands, it will be the first lunar mission in the Arab world.
Hakuto was one of five finalists in Google’s Lunar XPrize competition to land a rover on the moon before the 2018 deadline.
The ispace lunar lander also carries two robots manufactured by the Japanese space agency and a disc of the song “SORATO” by the Japanese rock band Sakanaction, originally written for the Google competition.
Another finalist in the competition, the Israeli organization SpaceIL, failed to become the first privately funded mission to attempt a moon landing in April 2019.
With just 200 employees, ispace aims to extend the reach of human life into space and create a sustainable world by providing high-frequency, low-cost transportation services to the moon. ‘ said.