ispace HAKUTO-R Mission 1: Landing Live Stream

As the lander gets closer to the moon power management becomes more challenging for the ground crew, according to Sasha Ivan Hurovitz: Spacecraft Avionics Systems Engineer:

As our M1 lander approaches the lunar surface, the Moon occupies more of the lander’s field of view. This causes the Sun to be blocked for more time, which poses a challenge for power management and power generation. Through careful testing and analysis, the ispace engineering team has prepared for this and has led the lander through the longest periods of eclipse successfully.


It’s not just power management that poses a threat to the mission, however. This isn’t the first time a private company has attempted to land on the moon. As Vice notes, an Israel company made an attempt in 2019, but the craft crash-landed. Seems rocket science, isn’t all that easy. From Vice:

It is very difficult to achieve a “soft landing”—as opposed to a hard crash landing—on any extraterrestrial surface. Many lunar surface missions have failed over the decades, including recent examples such as India’s Vikram, a lander that also crashed into the Moon in 2019, and Japan’s OMOTENASHI, a lander that suffered a communications breakdown after its November 2022 launch. An exception is China’s ongoing Chang’e series of Moon landers, which have all successfully touched down on the lunar surface so far.

Some space companies believe there is a future market for lunar exploration that could include resource prospecting and space tourism. To that end, a new rush of commercial missions will be attempting to soft-land on the Moon in the coming years. For instance, Astrobotic Technology and Intuitive Machines, which are both American companies, are currently on track to land spacecraft on the Moon in 2023 as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program.


Of course, Japan and the UAE aren’t the only ones getting close and cozy with our largest natural satellite. NASA’s Artemis 1 moon mission was a smashing success once it actually got in the air. Next year, humans will return to the Moon’s orbit for the first time in over 50 years with the Artemis 2 mission, with boots in the dust scheduled for some time in 2025.