After a string of setbacks, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) hope to rebound and follow the same success as Chandrayaan-3 of ISRO. According to media news, Japan is preparing to launch its mission Moon Sniper by next week which will carry a lander expected to reach the Moon’s surface in four to six months.
The Moon Sniper will also carry an X-ray imaging satellite to investigate the evolution of the universe. The bad weather situation has pushed back the launching schedule to Monday.
Japan has one of the world’s largest space programmes but failed to put a lander on the Moon in November 2022. They then tested a new type of rocket last month. The Moon Sniper named SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon) is 2.4 metres high, 2.7 metres wide, 1.7 metres long, and 700 kilogrammes heavy. Due to its precision, the lander is dubbed the “Moon Sniper” which is aimed to land within 100 metres of a specific target. This range is far less than the usual scope of several kilometres.
Earlier, India’s Chandrayaan-3 made history by completing a soft landing on the south pole of the Moon. India is just the fourth country to achieve the triumph and the first to land on the South Pole of lunar area. The United States, Russia and China are the only other three countries to put a spacecraft on the lunar surface.
Japan has been facing hurdles in conquering the lunar mission as their mission Omotenashi lost communications despite carrying on NASA’s Artemis 1. One of their private companies, Ispace, also failed to land on the Moon. Japan’s next-generation H3 model and solid-fuel Epsilon rocket also remained unsuccessful missions.