SpaceX delays Falcon 9 launch carrying private Japanese moon lander


SpaceX is readying to use its reliable Falcon 9 rocket to send a privately funded mission to the surface of the moon. However, HAKUTO-R Mission 1, slated to lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS), is now awaiting a new launch date.

An initial launch window on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 30 was forgone “to allow for additional pre-flight checkouts.” A backup opportunity on Dec. 1 was called off “after further inspections of the launch vehicle and data review.”

This is a mission that has been more than a decade in the making. The company behind the mission, ispace, began in Japan as a competitor in the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The goal of this particular XPRIZE was to become the first private lunar exploration mission. Ispace decided to call the mission HAKUTO, which means “white rabbit” in Japanese.