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Japan’s SLIM Moon Lander Enters Lunar Orbit

Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) aims to demonstrate “landing where it is desired to land,” pin-point landing technique and obstacle detection technique. Credit: JAXA

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXAFormed in 2003, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was born through the merger of three institutions, namely the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). JAXA performs various activities related to aerospace, from basic research in the aerospace field to development and utilization and is responsible for research, technology development, and launch of satellites into orbit, and is involved in advanced missions such as asteroid exploration and possible human exploration of the Moon.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>JAXA) announced that the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) was successfully inserted into lunar orbit at 16:51 (Japan Standard Time, JST) on December 25, 2023.

The lunar orbit of SLIM will be inserted into an elliptical lunar orbit connecting the Moon’s north and south poles with a period of approximately 6.4 hours, and an altitude of about 600 km (~370 miles) at the closest point to the Moon (perilune), and 4,000 km (~2,500 miles) at the furthest point from the Moon (apolune). The orbit change proceeded as planned, and the spacecraft is currently in a normal condition.

SLIM Orbit

Lunar Orbit Insertion(LOI) at 16:51 (JST) on December 25, 2023.
Light blue line: Current lunar orbit.
Future plans:
 Green line: Circular orbit at an altitude of approximately 600 km.
 Yellow line: Altitude approximately 600km x 150km on an elliptical orbit.
 Red line: Altitude approximately 600km x 15km on an elliptical orbit. Credit: JAXA

From now until mid-January 2024, the apolune point will be lowered, and the orbit adjusted to a circular orbit at an altitude of approximately 600km. The perilune point will then lower and preparations for landing will begin. On January 19, the perilune point will be lowered to an altitude of 15 km (~9 miles), and the descent towards the Moon will start at around 0:00 a.m. (JST) on January 20. Landing on the lunar surface is scheduled for around 0:20 a.m. (JST) on January 20.

Source: SciTechDaily