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Software problem blamed for lunar lander crash
Posted: Sat, Jun 3, 2023, 11:00 AM ET (1500 GMT)
A software problem caused a Japanese lunar lander to crash last month. Executives with Japanese company ispace said May 26 that its HAKUTO-R M1 lander was working well during its initial descent to the surface April 25. However, the spacecraft's software was confused when it passed over the rim of Atlas Crater on approach to its landing site within it. The software disregarded accurate altitude information from a laser rangefinder and concluded it was on the surface when it was still at an altitude of five kilometers. It hovered until it ran out of fuel, crashing to the surface at a speed of more than 100 meters per second. The company said a change in landing location made after the mission's critical design review contributed to the software flaw. A second lander is still scheduled to launch in 2024 with improved software.
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