Japan's space agency suspended a planned launch on Monday of rocket carrying what would be the country's first spacecraft to land on the moon, with operator Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) citing high winds, APA reports citing Reuters.
Although the H-IIA rocket, the Japanese flagship launch vehicle, has a 98% launch success rate, unsuitable wind conditions in the upper atmosphere forced a suspension less than 30 minutes before the planned liftoff.
"High-altitude winds hit our constraint for a launch... which had been set to ensure no impact from falling debris outside of pre-warned areas," said MHI's launch unit chief Tatsuru Tokunaga.
The new launch date has not been decided, but will be no sooner than Thursday because of necessary processes such as re-fuelling, he added. MHI and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have said a launch could take place as late as Sept. 15.
The rocket is carrying JAXA's Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM), which would be the first Japanese spacecraft to land on the moon.
Despite its goal to send astronauts on the lunar surface in the late 2020s, Japan's space missions have faced recent setbacks, with the launch failure of the Epsilon small rocket in October 2022, followed by an engine explosion during a test last month.