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IPFS News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Private Japanese spacecraft apparently fails on historic moon landing try

• By Mike Wall

Japan's Hakuto-R lander apparently came up short in its bid to make history today (April 25).

The robotic Hakuto-R, operated by Tokyo-based company ispace, aimed to become the first private spacecraft, and the first Japanese-built vehicle, ever to land softly on the moon.

That doesn't seem to have happened, however: ispace lost touch with Hakuto-R just as it was scheduled to settle softly onto the gray dirt today at 12:40 p.m. EDT (1640 GMT).

"So, we have to assume that we could not complete the landing on the lunar surface," ispace founder and CEO Takeshi Hakamada said during a webcast of today's historic attempt. 

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The company has continued trying to contact the lander, with no success to date. As a result, "it has been determined that there is a high probability that the lander eventually made a hard landing on the moon's surface," ispace wrote in an update tonight(opens in new tab)