Due to bad weather, Japan’s space agency postponed the launch of its “Moon Sniper” lunar mission on Monday for a third time.
A research satellite created in collaboration with NASA and the European Space Agency was also being launched aboard the H2-A rocket from Tanegashima, an island in southern Japan.
After India successfully landed a probe on the Moon last week, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) did not announce a new launch date for the mission.
The mission was cancelled, according to MHI Launch Services, the rocket’s co-developer, on the social media website X, “because it was confirmed that the upper wind does not satisfy the constraints at launch”.
India, the most populous country in the world, and its low-cost space program achieved a historic victory last week when a spacecraft it sent to the Moon’s south pole touched down.
Only the United States, Russia, and China had previously been able to land a spacecraft on the moon, and none had reached the south pole.
India’s achievement occurred four years after a previous Indian mission ended abruptly in failure and just days after a Russian probe crashed in the same area.
Japan has already attempted to land a lunar probe called Omotenashi that was carried by NASA’s Artemis 1 last year, but the mission failed and contacts were lost.
Aiming to be the first private enterprise to land on the Moon, the ambitious Japanese start-up iSpace lost contact after what it described as a “hard landing” in April.
The “Moon Sniper” got its name because JAXA wants to land it on the Moon within 100 meters (330 feet), far closer than the typical range of several kilometers.
Japan has also experienced issues with launch rockets, with the next-generation H3 model failing after takeoff in March and the typically dependable solid-fuel Epsilon failing in October of the previous year.