American space agency NASA last week launched its Artemis I spacecraft to explore the moon. On the same day, Japan also sent its own mission – two CubeSats satellites – to the Earth’s celestial neighbor, but one of them suffered a different fate. The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said that it lost connection with one of the CubeSats named OMOTENASHI. the other one – EQUUELEUS is reported to be operating normally.
In an earlier statement, JAXA had said, “The CubeSat has not completed sun acquisition and communication is not stable. We are therefore continuing operations to stabilize attitude, secure power, and establish communication.”
However, the Japanese space agency has now confirmed that it was unable to establish communication with OMOTENASHI. “It was determined that the lunar landing maneuver (DV2) operation required for landing on the Moon would be unable to be performed,” JAXA said in a press release.
The space agency further said that while the Moon landing objective of the mission was unable to be achieved, recovery operations will continue to perform radiation measurements outside the Earth’s magnetosphere, which is another mission that can be performed while the CubeSat is in flight, along with technology demonstrations other than the lunar landing.
Japan has formed a team – OMOTENASHI Operation Abnormality Response Team – led by the Director of the Space Science Program at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) to investigate the cause, take action in the future, and compile knowledge that will contribute to the field of CubeSat development. The team has already held its first meeting and will soon formulate a plan.
JAXA has said that it will report updates about the response status and results of the investigation.
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