The first private mission to land safely on the moon is currently underway, and we’ve finally been treated to seeing some of the images sent back from space. Hakuto-R is said to be off to a good start, and judging by the images, it certainly looks that way.
At first glance, it looks like a photo of a crescent moon, a fingernail sliver that we are so accustomed to seeing. However, these images are of our own planet, a sort of farewell last look back as the rocket leaves Earth.
While initial checkout operations continue in ispace’s Mission Control Center (MCC), we have also received the first images taken by our lander-mounted camera!
This is an image of the Earth about 19 hours after separation from the launch vehicle. pic.twitter.com/BcM6mrw1Qb
— ispace (@ispace_inc) December 13, 2022
The total length of the mission is forecast to last around four months. It was launched as part of the SpaceX rocket launch on December 11th, although now the Hakuto-R spacecraft has separated from the launch vehicle.
Initial checkout operations in our Mission Control Center (MCC) continue, and, in the meantime, we are pleased to share another image from onboard! Pictured is the Earth and the @SpaceX launch vehicle's second stage, taken about 2 minutes after separation. pic.twitter.com/pdCozmhsRz
— ispace (@ispace_inc) December 14, 2022
The images were shared via the mission’s Twitter feed and were snapped using the spacecraft’s own mounted on-board camera. The second blue planet image was taken using a multi-camera imaging system developed by Canadensys Aerospace Corporation.
“We are very pleased with the performance of the imaging system, and with the quality of the first in-space images we have obtained,” Frank Teti, general manager at Canadensys, which designed and built the imaging system, said in a statement.
“Designing systems to operate in the harsh environment on the lunar surface is always a challenge, but one we feel we have solved. We look forward to sharing equally spectacular images when we touch down on the Moon,” he added.