Full-size model of Hakuto-R
Mission typeTechnology demonstration
COSPAR ID2022-168A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.54696
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftHakuto-R M1
Spacecraft typeLunar lander
Launch mass1,000 kg (2,200 lb)
Dry mass340 kg (750 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date11 December 2022, 07:38 UTC
RocketFalcon 9 B1073.5
Launch siteCCSFS, SLC-40
End of mission
Last contact25 April 2023, 16:40 UTC
Moon lander
Landing siteAtlas crater (attempted). 47°34′52″N 44°05′38″E / 47.581°N 44.094°E / 47.581; 44.094

Hakuto-R Mission 1 patch  

Hakuto-R Mission 1 was a failed private Japanese uncrewed lunar landing mission built and operated by ispace, which was launched in December 2022 for an attempted lunar landing in April 2023.

This first Hakuto mission was primarily a technology demonstrator and carried the Emirates Lunar Mission.[1] Travelling approximately 1,400,000 kilometres (870,000 mi), it is the furthest a privately-funded spacecraft has traveled.[2] Communication with the lander was lost during the final seconds of its April 2023 descent.[3]


The project began with engineer Andrew Barton in 2008, who sought to win the Google Lunar X Prize by landing a privately-funded rover on the Moon, and gathered an international group of professionals to create White Label Space.[3] Takeshi Hakamada would found ispace in 2010 as a Japanese branch of White Label Space.[3] Many of the professionals abandoned the project by 2013, though a group of Japanese members sought to continue with the project, which was renamed from White Label Space to Hakuto, based on the white Hare of Inaba in Japanese mythology.[3][4] By 2017, ispace had secured $90 million in funding and though no teams in the Google Lunar X Prize ever launched before the 2018 deadline, the Hakuto team would continue.[3] In April 2022, iSpace was placed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, receiving a 65% increase in its share price within two weeks.[3]

Lander specifications

The Hakuto-R lander was measured at 2.3 metres (7.5 ft) tall by 2.6 metres (8.5 ft) wide, with a total weight of approximately 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb) with its payload and fuel.[5] To perform a stable landing, the lander was equipped with four landing legs and a main thruster.[5]


Selenochromatic Image (Si) of Lacus Somniorum area

Hakuto-R Mission 1 was launched on 11 December 2022 aboard a Falcon 9 rocket,[6] separating from the rocket 47 minutes later at a distance around 970 kilometres (600 mi) away from Earth.[3] Inside the spacecraft were payloads from the Emirates Lunar Mission rover Rashid in a partnership with the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), along with Tomy and JAXA's Sora-Q transformable lunar robot.[2][7][8] The lander also housed another payload, a music disc featuring the song ‘SORATO’ by the Japanese rock band Sakanaction, which was initially released in 2018 as a part of the Team Hakuto campaign for the Google Lunar X Prize.[9]

Using data collected from a previous lunar scanning mission, ispace determined that the mission would attempt a landing in the Atlas crater in the Mare Frigoris region of the Moon; three other backup locations were selected, like those in Lacus Somniorum, Sinus Iridum and Oceanus Procellarum, among others.[5][10] In an effort to conserve fuel, the mission used a slower path to approach the Moon, entering lunar orbit in March 2023.[5]

Landing attempt

After a five-month travel time, the mission traveled 1,400,000 kilometres (870,000 mi), further than any privately-funded spacecraft, to attempt a lunar landing on 25 April 2023.[2][11]

During the official live-stream,[12] among the four possible landing locations, the site in Lacus Somniorum was initially shown in the animation, saying it was based on real-time telemetry from the lander; that later turned out to be misleading, since the telemetry coming from the lander was not reliable, and the actual attempted landing site was near Atlas crater, as had been decided initially.[13][14][15]

Communication with the lander was lost during the final moments of descent to the lunar surface at 16:40 UTC (00:40 JST) on 25 April.[3] Analysis determined that the lander plummeted uncontrollably when the propellant was exhausted. This happened because the onboard computer wrongly assumed the radar altimeter was faulty, and ignoring its data, misjudged the actual altitude of the spacecraft and kept hovering 5km above the surface of the Moon.[3][16][17][18]

The crash site was later identified by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter team.[13]

Impact Site of the HAKUTO-R Mission 1 Lunar Lander[13]
Ejecta field around impact site
Before and after image of the impact site
Before and after images of the impact site

See also


  1. ^ "NASA – NSSDCA – Spacecraft – Details". nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2023-04-25.
  2. ^ a b c Alamalhodaei, Aria (25 April 2023). "Watch ispace attempt to land on the moon for the first time". TechCrunch.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chang, Kenneth (2023-04-25). "Live Updates: A Japanese Company Attempts the 1st Private Moon Landing". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-04-25.
  4. ^ The Japanese Space Bots That Could Build Moon Valley Sarah Scoles, Wired 14 May 2018
  5. ^ a b c d "Watch Japan's ispace attempt moon landing with Hakuto-R lunar lander". New Scientist. 25 April 2023. Retrieved 2023-04-25.
  6. ^ Swift, Rocky (13 April 2023). "Japan's ispace launches commercial moon lander, in potential world first". Reuters.
  7. ^ Rabie, Passant (12 December 2022). "SpaceX Launches Moon-Bound Private Japanese Lander Following Delays". Gizmodo. Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  8. ^ "ispace、2022年末頃の打ち上げに向け、フライトモデル組み立ての最終工程に着手 Hakuto-Rのミッション1と2の進捗報告を実施". ispace. Retrieved 2023-04-29.
  9. ^ "Ispace Announces Mission 1 Launch Date".
  10. ^ "ispace Announces Mission 1 Launch Date". ispace. Retrieved 2023-04-27.
  11. ^ "A private moon lander will make history when it touches down on April 25. Here's how to watch it live". Space.com. 24 April 2023.
  12. ^ ispace Hakuto-R Mission 1: Landing Live Stream, 25 April 2023, retrieved 2023-04-27
  13. ^ a b c Speyerer, Emerson (May 23, 2023). "Impact Site of the Hakuto-R Mission 1 Lunar Lander". lroc.sese.asu.edu. Retrieved 2023-05-23.
  14. ^ "2022年、月の映像データはこの場所にやってくる。 民間月面探査プログラム「Hakuto-R」 Mission Control Centerを開設". ispace. Retrieved 2023-04-27.
  15. ^ "ispace Announces Mission 1 Launch Date". ispace. Retrieved 2023-04-27.
  16. ^ "Status Update on ispace Hakuto-R Mission 1 Lunar Lander". ispace. Retrieved 2023-04-26.
  17. ^ "Japan Spacecraft Believed to Have Crashed on Moon During Landing". Bloomberg.com. 2023-04-25. Retrieved 2023-04-27.
  18. ^ 日本放送協会. "月面着陸 開発の民間企業が会見 "途中で燃料がつきて落下か"". NHKニュース. Retrieved 2023-04-27.