If all goes well, the ispace Japanese lander with Canadian technology onboard will land on the Moon on April 25 sometime after the landing sequence starts at 11:40 am ET (15:40 UTC).
The HAKUTO-R Mission 1 Lunar Lander has met all its milestones to date. And should it safely land on the surface of the Moon it carries with it two Canadian payloads, one from Canadensys Aerospace and another from Mission Control.
Canadensys Aerospace is providing an AI-enabled operational lunar 360-degree imaging system, including multiple cameras. Mission Control will demonstrate an artificial intelligence-integrated flight computer to classify types of geological features as a rover drives around the lunar surface.
In a press release ispace said “at approximately 15:40 on April 25, 2023, (UTC), the lander is scheduled to begin the landing sequence from the 100 km altitude orbit. During the sequence, the lander will perform a braking burn, firing its main propulsion system to decelerate from orbit. Utilizing a series of pre-set commands, the lander will adjust its attitude and reduce velocity in order to make a soft landing on the lunar surface. The process will take approximately one hour.”
ispace further stated that “for Mission 1, ispace has set 10 milestones between launch and landing, and aims to achieve the success criteria established for each of these milestones. Recognizing the possibility of an anomaly during the mission, the results will be weighed and evaluated against the criteria and incorporated into future missions already in development between now and 2025. Mission 2 and Mission 3, which also will contribute to NASA’s Artemis Program, will further improve the maturity of ispace’s technology and business model. Future announcements on progress of milestone achievement are expected to be released once attained.”
The first eight milestones completed are:
- Completion of launch preparations
- Completion of launch and deployment
- Establishment of a Steady Operation Status
- Completion of the first orbital control maneuver
- Completion of stable deep-space flight operations for one month
- Completion of all deep space orbital control maneuvers before lunar orbit insertion
- Reaching the lunar gravitational field, lunar orbit
- Completion of all orbit control maneuvers in lunar orbit
Milestone 9 is: Completion of lunar landing: Complete the landing sequences, verifying key landing abilities for future missions.
Milestone 10 is: Establishment of a steady system state after lunar landing – Establish a steady telecommunication and power supply on the lunar surface after landing to support customer payloads’ surface operations.
Landing on the Moon is not easy. Ask Israel or India, two of the most recent attempts. Israel’s privately funded SpaceIL Beresheet lander crashed in June 2019. Later the same year, India’s Vikram also crashed landed.
Can the HAKUTO-R Mission 1 fare any better? Stay tuned.