Photo: H2A launch vehicle
The H2A launch vehicle carrying Japan's first lunar exploration lander called SLIM launched from the Tanegashima Cosmodrome in southwestern Kagoshima Prefecture.
Live broadcasting the launch was conducted by Japan aerospace research agency (JAXA). Before that, the launch of the module was postponed several times due to bad weather conditions.
SLIM successfully separated from the H2A launch vehicle. According to the calculations of Japanese experts, SLIM will be able to reach lunar orbit in three to four months. The landing on the moon will most likely take place in January or February 2024.
The rocket also launched the XRISM X-ray telescope into Earth orbit, created by JAXA, NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA ).
The 2.4 m tall and 200 kg SLIM device is designed to study lunar craters and terrain using technologies similar to those used in facial recognition systems.
SLIM is also equipped with a special camera that allows you to measure the amount of iron and other elements , which are contained in the rocks on the lunar surface.
The Japanese module has technologies that make it possible to make a precise landing in a certain place on the moon with an error of no more than 100 meters.
The data obtained by the device is expected to be used, in particular, within the framework of the lunar program of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Artemis.
Japan originally planned to send the module to the moon in May, but the dates were postponed due to the failed launch of Japan's new rocket – carrier of the heavy H3 class.
If the mission is successful, Japan will become the fifth country in the world to land its module on a natural satellite of the Earth. Previously, the Soviet Union, the USA, China and India succeeded.
In April, the Japanese company Ispace launched the Hakuto-R module, which was supposed to be the world's first privately developed apparatus to land on the moon. However, contact with it was lost, as it probably crashed on contact with the lunar surface.
Prepared by Serhiy Daga