ispace: Hakuto-R Crashed Due to Crater Rim Confusion
ispace, the private lunar exploration company, has concluded its analysis of the data from the unsuccessful Hakuto-R lunar landing mission, pointing to challenging lunar terrain and a last-minute alteration in the landing site as the primary factors behind the failure. Although Hakuto-R managed to complete the deceleration process in preparation for touchdown on the lunar surface, an issue with altitude estimation led to a critical software error.
According to the findings, Hakuto-R initiated its descent sequence when it reached an altitude of approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) and successfully decelerated to a speed of less than 1 m/s. However, the spacecraft’s software mistakenly assumed that it had already landed when it was hovering around 5 kilometers (3 miles) above the lunar surface. As a result, it continued descending at an extremely slow pace until its propulsion system depleted its fuel reserves. ispace’s attempts to reestablish communication with Hakuto-R were unsuccessful, leading the company to believe that the spacecraft eventually experienced a free fall and crashed on the moon.