All posts tagged: lunar landers

Japan Moon Lander Revives After Lunar Night

Japan Moon Lander Revives After Lunar Night

Tokyo —  Japan’s moon lander has produced another surprise by waking up after the two-week lunar night, the country’s space agency said Monday. The unmanned Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) touched down last month at a wonky angle that left its solar panels facing the wrong way. As the sun’s angle shifted, it came back to life for two days and carried out scientific observations of a crater with a high-spec camera, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said. It went to sleep again as darkness returned and, since it was “not designed for the harsh lunar nights,” JAXA had been uncertain whether it would reawaken. “Yesterday we sent a command, to which SLIM responded,” JAXA said on X, formerly Twitter, on Monday. “SLIM succeeded in surviving a night on the Moon’s surface while maintaining its communication function!” It said that communications were “terminated after a short time, as it was still lunar midday and the temperature of the communication equipment was very high.” But it added: “Preparations are being made to resume operations …

High Hopes for Japan’s ‘Moon Sniper’ Mission This Weekend

High Hopes for Japan’s ‘Moon Sniper’ Mission This Weekend

TOKYO —  Japan’s “Moon Sniper” spacecraft will attempt a historic touchdown on the moon this weekend using pinpoint technology the country hopes will lead to success where many have failed. With its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) mission, Japan wants to become the fifth nation to pull off a fiendishly tricky soft landing on the rocky surface. Only the United States, the Soviet Union, China and India have accomplished the feat, and Japan’s lander, equipped with a rolling robot developed by a major toy company, is designed to do so with unprecedented precision. The descent of the lightweight SLIM craft, nicknamed the “Moon Sniper” by space agency JAXA, is scheduled to start at midnight Japan time on Saturday. If all goes to plan, the touchdown will be around 20 minutes later. The craft is targeting an area within 100 meters of a spot on the lunar surface, far smaller than the usual landing zone of several kilometers. Success would reverse Japan’s fortunes in space after two failed lunar missions and recent rocket failures, including …

Astrobotic ready to launch Peregrine lunar lander in early January

Astrobotic ready to launch Peregrine lunar lander in early January

Astrobotic’s first lunar lander is ready for lift-off. The company announced Tuesday that the lander, called Peregrine, has completed final checkouts and fueling after it was mated with United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket last month. All that’s left now is launch on January 8 – followed, of course, by a historic lunar landing. “If you’ve been following the lunar industry, you understand landing on the Moon’s surface is incredibly difficult,” Astrobotic CEO John Thornton said in a statement. “With that said, our team has continuously surpassed expectations and demonstrated incredible ingenuity during flight reviews, spacecraft testing, and major hardware integrations.” “We are ready for launch, and for landing.” The nearly two-meter tall Peregrine lander will be carrying 20 payloads for government and commercial customers. The lander, which has a payload capacity of 90 kilograms, will operate for around 192 hours after it touches down on the lunar surface. During that time, it will provide power and communications to the payloads. According to a payload users guide on Astrobotic’s website, the company is charging about …