Japan launched a rocket on Thursday carrying an X-ray telescope in order to study the origins of the universe as well as a small lunar lander. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, broadcast live video of the HII-A rocket launch from Tanegashima Space Center. “We have a liftoff,” the narrator at JAXA said as the rocket flew up in a burst of smoke.
What the aim of the rocket?
Thirteen minutes after the liftoff, the rocket launched the X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) satellite, which will measure the speed and composition of what lies between galaxies. According to JAXA, this information aids in understanding how celestial objects were generated and, in theory, can help solve the riddle of how the universe was created.
JAXA collaborates with NASA
In collaboration with NASA, JAXA will examine the brightness and strength of light at various wavelengths as well as the temperatures and forms of objects in space. The Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) is a compact lunar lander that is also mounted on the latest Japanese rocket. According to the space agency, the Smart Lander will not enter lunar orbit for three to four months after liftoff and will likely make an attempt at a landing early next year. In order to prepare for future lunar probes and landing on other planets, JAXA is also creating "pinpoint landing technology."
Smart Lander is designed to be more precise
While landings now tend to be off by about 10 kilometres (6 miles) or more, the Smart Lander is designed to be more precise, within about 100 meters (330 feet) of the intended target, JAXA official Shinichiro Sakai told reporters ahead of the launch. That allows the box-shaped gadgetry to find a safer place to land. The move comes at a time when the world is again turning to the challenge of going to the moon. Only four nations have successfully landed on the moon, the United States, Russia, China and India.
Japan's space program marred by recent failures
According to reports, recent setbacks have tarnished Japan's space program. A problem caused the H3 rocket launch in February to be cancelled. A month later, liftoff was successful, but the rocket had to be destroyed since its second stage didn't fully ignite. For the first time in 13 years, Japan has started recruiting astronaut candidates, making clear its ambitions to send a Japanese to the moon.
(With inputs from AP)