Japan will have to wait a little longer to reach the Moon. This Monday, August 28th, the Japanese space agency had planned the launch of a rocket that would carry the country’s first spacecraft to land on the Moon. However, the launch was suspended early in the day.
What was the reason? The wind, plain and simple. Despite the H-IIA rocket, created by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), having a launch success rate of 98%, the atmospheric wind conditions were not conducive for takeoff, forcing its suspension just 27 minutes before the scheduled launch.
“High-altitude winds affected our launch limitation… that had been set to ensure that there were no impacts from debris falling outside the pre-announced zones,” said Tatsuru Tokunaga, head of MHI’s H-IIA launch unit, in a statement quoted by Reuters.
As explained by Michio Kawakami, the head of safety at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), strong winds of nearly 108 km/h were observed at altitudes between 5,000 and 15,000 meters just before the launch, caused by several typhoons near Japan.
As of now, a new launch date for the Japanese rocket has not been set, although it won’t take place until at least Thursday, according to Tokunaga, because certain mandatory processes, such as refueling, need to be carried out.
Both MHI and JAXA are aiming for September 15 as a possible new date, although this could change again depending on the weather conditions. The upcoming launch, which will be the 47th launch of the H-IIA by Japan, had already been postponed a couple of times last week due to poor weather.
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