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First lunar landing probe to be launched in 2019

  • 2015-06-04 15:00:00
  • , Sankei
  • Translation

(Sankei: June 4, 2015 – p. 22)

 

 The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced a project on June 3 to launch the Japan’s first lunar landing probe, called “Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM),” in FY2019. This information was disclosed in a meeting of a space development and utilization task force at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. JAXA originally aimed to launch the probe in FY2018 but the launch was rescheduled “to ensure the implementation” of the plan.

 

 JAXA explained that if a high precision landing by SLIM is achieved, it will contribute to raising Japan’s presence in international space exploration. Director Saku Tsuneta of JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronomical Science, which is handling the project, said, “I want to work on scientific experiments,” conveying his idea of loading observatory equipment on the probe. The touchdown point is reportedly still undecided.

 

 JAXA will soon make an official decision on the launch, which will be followed by the ministry’s inclusion of related expenses into the next year’s budgetary request through approval by the government’s Space Policy Commission. After the task force meeting, Tsuneta said, “If the SLIM project succeeds, it will open up a new world for lunar exploration and landing on Mars.”

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