Japan delayed the launch of a rocket carrying a lunar lander less than 30 minutes before its scheduled take off Monday as bad weather continued to plague the mission.
(Bloomberg) — Japan delayed the launch of a rocket carrying a lunar lander less than 30 minutes before its scheduled take off Monday as bad weather continued to plague the mission.
The H2-A, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s most reliable heavy payload rocket, was originally set to launch Saturday morning carrying an advanced imaging satellite and a lightweight lander slated to reach the moon as early as January. The launch time was first pushed back to Sunday, and then Monday amid concerns about the weather.
The launch could happen as early as Friday depending on weather conditions, a spokesperson for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. — which is responsible for building and launching the craft — told reporters. While the company didn’t announce a new date, the launch window is open until September 15.
If and when it launches, Japan will become the latest nation to aim for the moon after a Russian spacecraft last week crashed into the lunar surface and India’s Chandrayaan-3 successfully landed near the lunar south pole.
Following a woeful year marred by costly setbacks, Japan is looking to turn the tide in favor of its battered space program as it falls further behind Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
(Updates with Mitsubishi Heavy briefing.)
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