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Japan launches space rocket, moon lander following weather delays

UPI
The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency launches a rocket carrying a high-powered X-Ray telescope and a moon lander Wednesday, after the mission's planned Aug. 27 launch was scrubbed due to high winds. Photo courtesy of JAXA

Sept. 6 (UPI) -- The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency successfully launched a rocket Wednesday, with a high-powered X-ray telescope and moon lander on board, after the launch was scrubbed late last month due to high winds.

The H-2A rocket lifted off on time, at 7:42 p.m. EST, or 8:42 a.m. local time, from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, and deployed the space telescope on schedule.

"We have a liftoff," the narrator at JAXA announced as the X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission launched over the Pacific.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launches its XRISM mission. Photo courtesy of JAXA
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launches its XRISM mission. Photo courtesy of JAXA

Thirteen minutes after the launch, the rocket deployed the satellite XRISM into orbit to study the formation of celestial objects.

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The mission is a joint Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency-NASA project that also has some support from the European Space Agency. Researchers hope it will help them understand spacetime warping.

The XRISM mission is designed to help unravel the mystery of gravity, which Albert Einstein theorized was caused by the warping of spacetime around heavy objects.

The mission will perform high-resolution X-ray spectroscopic observations of the hot gas plasma wind that blows through the galaxies in the universe.

According to JAXA, the observations gathered will help to determine mass and energy flows expected to reveal the composition and evolution of celestial objects.

The mission also includes JAXA's Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, or SLIM, which is flying as a ride-share on this launch. It is scheduled to land on the moon early next year to test precision landing technology.

Researchers hope the mission will also provide insight into deep space structures such as gigantic galaxy clusters and black holes.

The European Space Agency will be allocated 8% of the XRISM observation time. The agency plans to use it to cross-reference X-ray readings from its XMM-Newton spacecraft which has been collecting data for two decades.

Japan successfully launches its previously scrubbed XRISM mission Wednesday to study the mystery of gravity. Photo courtesy of JAXA
Japan successfully launches its previously scrubbed XRISM mission Wednesday to study the mystery of gravity. Photo courtesy of JAXA