A Japanese space startup launched a spacecraft to the moon on Sunday after several delays, a step toward what would be a first for the nation and for a private company.
ispace Inc’s HAKUTO-R mission took off without incident from Cape Canaveral, Florida, after two postponements caused by inspections of its SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
More than a hundred people at a viewing party in Tokyo roared in applause when the rocket fired and lifted into the dark skies.
“I’m so happy. After repeated delays, it’s good that we had a proper launch today,” said Yuriko Takeda, a 28-year old worker at an electronics company who joined the gathering.
“I have this image of the American flag from the Apollo landing, so while this is just the launch, the fact that it’s a private company going there with a rover is a really meaningful step.”