A Tokyo-based private company has failed in its challenge to land the first private spacecraft on the moon’s surface, adding to a string of failed attempts by private companies to land safely on the moon.
“ISpace” attempted to land the “M1” vehicle, but the attempt ended up falling on the surface of the moon, which raises questions such as why a safe landing on the surface of the moon? When will the first private company succeed?Nature“.
The magazine pointed out that success in landing on the moon was limited to three government-sponsored space agencies in China, the Soviet Union, and the United States. China has done it in its first attempt since the seventies of the twentieth century.
Stephen Indyk, director of space systems at Honeybee Robotics in Greenbelt, Maryland, said many variables must be taken into account that make landing on the moon difficult, including the moon’s gravity and lower atmosphere than Earth’s. Plus a lot of dust.
To achieve a successful landing, engineers must anticipate how the spacecraft will interact with this environment, and spend money testing the many scenarios it might encounter on the moon and how to land in them.
“Espace” is the second private company to try to land on the moon, after the first attempt by the Israeli company “SpaceIL” in 2019, which also ended in an emergency landing.
Indyk says that the difficulties faced by companies to land on the moon are expected and normal, as the United States and the Soviet Union succeeded only after several failed attempts to land on the moon.
Landing a vehicle on the surface of the moon, some 384,000 kilometers from Earth, is a much more difficult challenge than lifting a satellite into low Earth orbit, and even for missions that don’t plan to land, as happened with NASA’s lunar lander. The mission, a small spacecraft launched in December, was supposed to map the moon’s ice, but its propulsion system failed shortly after launch.
The paper points out that the landing failures in 2019 could be caused by software and sensor problems in the final moments of landing, while the failure of the “space” vehicle could be caused by the ejection of propellant fuel just before landing.
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