JAXA Successfully Puts Lunar Probe into Orbit

The Yomiuri Shimbun
An H2A rocket launches from the Tanegashima Space Center on Sept. 7, in Tanegashima, Kagoshima Prefecture.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said Monday that it has successfully put into the moon’s orbit a lunar lander launched by an H-2A rocket in September.

JAXA projects the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) to touch down Jan. 20 next year.

An engine operation for putting the lander into an elliptical orbit at an altitude of 600 to 4,000 kilometers to the moon was carried out Monday night as planned, according to JAXA.

SLIM is a small probe about 2.4 meters high and weighing about 200 kilograms excluding fuel.

If the landing ends in success, SLIM will be the first Japanese probe to touch down on the moon and make Japan the fifth county to do this, only after the former Soviet Union, the United States, China and India.