Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) spacecraft completed its initial lunar flyby a few weeks after launch. The lander is now in a looping orbit, positioning it for a return to the Moon later in 2023, with plans for a lunar landing attempt in January 2024.
SLIM is equipped with two lunar excursion vehicles with multiple cameras, antennas, and direct-to-Earth communication devices to collect data. However, its primary objective is to make a soft yet highly precise landing on the Moon within 330 feet of its target point in the Shioli crater. For comparison, in 1969, the Apollo 11 lunar lander touched down along an elliptical trajectory spanning over 12 miles in length.
The success of this highly precise landing will lead to more daring maneuvers, reduce costs, and elevate the overall quality of space exploration. These extremely accurate landings will facilitate quick access to areas previously unexplored, distinguishing them from safer landing zones.
If successful, Japan will be the fifth nation to make a soft landing on the lunar surface. With parts on board, VPT is proud to be a part of this historic mission and congratulates everyone on its current and future success.