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Japan makes history, becoming fifth country to land spacecraft on moon

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means the lander cannot pull up for another try, its scientists said. Three lunar missions by Japanese startup ispace, Russia’s space agency and American company Astrobotic have failed in the past year.

In Sagamihara, a Tokyo suburb where JAXA’s control centre is located, about 80 people gathered at a city hall for the public viewing of the midnight landing.

“There has been a series of launch failures (of JAXA’s rockets) so I really wanted this to succeed,” said Toshie Yamamoto, an office worker in her 50s.

There was a tense atmosphere during the descent sequence, but they broke into applause when SLIM’s landing on the moon was announced. (Reuters)

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