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Japan planning cancellation of lunar mission
Posted: Wed, Jan 17, 2007, 7:39 AM ET (1239 GMT)
Lunar-A spacecraft illustration (JAXA) The Japanese space agency JAXA is recommending that one of its two planned unmanned lunar missions, Lunar-A, be cancelled because of extended delays in its development. The mission, whose development dates back to a predecessor space agency, ISAS, in the 1990s, features a orbiter that would fire two penetrator probes into the lunar surface. Development of the penetrators has proven far more difficult than envisioned, however, leading to numerous schedule delays. Moreover, the orbiter, built ten years ago, now requires refurbishment that JAXA believes would be too expensive. A final decision on canceling Lunar-A will be made by the end of the month. A second JAXA lunar mission, the orbiter Selene, is not affected by the Lunar-A cancellation. It is scheduled for launch in mid-2007.
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