SpaceX has delayed the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a mission to land the first private and also Japanese lander on the Moon for the second day in a row. Previously, only the United States, China, and Russia had successfully placed a robot on the lunar surface. The “Hakuto” lander is expected to land in the Atlas crater on the Moon’s near side in April next year. It which is being delivered by the Japanese firm ispace.
It is originally scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, early yesterday morning. SpaceX announced that it would be postponing the launch to conduct additional “pre-flight checkouts.”
A new launch window was set for this morning at 3.37am local time (08.37am GMT). It is before Elon Musk’s company announced yet another delay.
SpaceX is believed to be hopeful of establishing a new launch date in the coming days. It should not interfere significantly with mission plans.
The lander mission is the first in a series known as “Hakuto-R.” This original Hakuto mission was one of five finalists in the 2007 Google Lunar X Prize competition.
The goal of the competition was to encourage the creation of the first private mission to land a rover on the moon and drive it 547 yards. It transmits high-definition images and video back to Earth. While the competition ended without a winner in 2018, some of the projects are still ongoing.
The firm’s goal is “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.”