Watch Live As Japan's Ispace Attempts To Land A Private Spacecraft On The Moon Today

hero hakuto r mission
A Japanese company called ispace is attempting to be the first private company to land a spacecraft on the moon today, and you can watch live. It launched its Hakuto-R lander onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in December of last year.

After launching the Hakuto-R lander on December 11, 2022, ispace had the spacecraft take a three-month journey to the moon to save on fuel. The spacecraft's approach for landing on the lunar surface is set to begin at 11:40am EST and should make its landing approximately an hour later. The landing can be viewed live via YouTube below.

Hakuto-R will begin its descent to the moon from about 100 kilometers above the lunar surface. The spacecraft will be aiming to land at Atlas crater located in the moon's northern hemisphere, often referred to as the "sea of cold". The projected landing spot is farther north than any of the six Apollo landings.

The spacecraft is carrying several payloads for different customers. The Japanese space agency has a transforming robotic ball on board, while the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai, United Emirates, has a small rover, according to NewScientist. Two other projects onboard are a solid-state battery test from a Japanese company and a 360-degree camera from a Canadian-owned company.

The race back to the Moon has been heating up over the last several years. NASA has its planned Artemis missions, which will put humans back on the lunar surface in the near future. Chinese scientists held a conference recently to discuss the best methods for building a lunar base. Then there are the private companies, such as ispace, who have entered into the fray. A US-based company called Intuitive Machines may be the next to put another spacecraft on the moon in June of this year.

A successful landing is not guaranteed. If Hakuto-R, which is 2.3 meters in height, 2.6 meters wide, and weighs about 1000 kilograms fully fueled, makes its approach too quickly, it could be destroyed on impact. Hopefully, however, all will go well.