Japan postpones ‘Moon Sniper’ launch for third time

TOKYO-Japan’s space agency on Monday postponed for the third time the launch of its “Moon Sniper” lunar mission due to strong winds just half an hour before launch. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) gave no new date for the launch, which comes after India successfully landed a probe on the Moon last week. The rocket, set for launch from the southern island of Tanegashima, will also carry a research satellite developed by JAXA, NASA and the European Space Agency. Tatsuru Tokunaga, a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries official in charge of the launch, told reporters the mission was postponed as “upper winds did not meet the launch conditions” and that it would take “at least three days” to prepare for another attempt. The firm said the launch needs to happen before the current window expires on September 15. Last week, India landed a craft near the Moon’s south pole in a historic triumph. Previously, only the United States, Russia, and China had managed to put a spacecraft on the lunar surface, and none on the south pole.

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