Japan’s SLIM Moon Lander Achieves Lunar Orbit

by Liam O'Connor
SLIM Moon Lander

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has confirmed that its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) successfully entered the Moon’s orbit at 16:51 (Japan Standard Time, JST) on December 25, 2023. This mission focuses on demonstrating precision landing and obstacle detection technologies.

SLIM’s trajectory will take it into an elliptical orbit around the Moon, extending from the north to the south poles. This orbit will last about 6.4 hours, reaching a minimum altitude of 600 km (~370 miles) near the Moon (perilune), and a maximum of 4,000 km (~2,500 miles) at its farthest point (apolune). The insertion into this orbit was executed as planned, with the spacecraft currently operating normally.

The spacecraft entered the lunar orbit at 16:51 (JST) on December 25, 2023. Its current orbit is indicated by a light blue line. Upcoming maneuvers include:
 – Adjusting to a circular orbit at approximately 600 km (green line).
 – Transitioning to an elliptical orbit of approximately 600km x 150km (yellow line).
 – Finally, an elliptical orbit of about 600km x 15km (red line).

From now until mid-January 2024, SLIM will lower its apolune point and adjust to a circular orbit at around 600km. Following this, the perilune point will be reduced in preparation for landing. On January 19, the perilune will be lowered to 15 km (~9 miles), and descent towards the lunar surface will commence around 0:00 a.m. (JST) on January 20. The landing is scheduled for approximately 0:20 a.m. (JST) on January 20.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about SLIM Moon Lander

What is the SLIM Moon Lander?

The Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) is a mission by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) aimed at demonstrating precision landing and obstacle detection on the Moon.

When did SLIM enter lunar orbit?

SLIM was successfully inserted into lunar orbit at 16:51 Japan Standard Time (JST) on December 25, 2023.

What is the trajectory of the SLIM Moon Lander?

SLIM’s trajectory is an elliptical lunar orbit connecting the Moon’s north and south poles, with a period of approximately 6.4 hours. It reaches a closest altitude of about 600 km and a farthest point of 4,000 km from the Moon.

What are the future plans for SLIM?

From mid-January 2024, SLIM will adjust to a circular orbit at about 600km altitude. The descent towards the Moon is scheduled to start around 0:00 a.m. (JST) on January 20, with landing planned for around 0:20 a.m. (JST) the same day.

More about SLIM Moon Lander

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Chris P. December 26, 2023 - 5:53 pm

didnt know japan was so advanced in space tech. this SLIM lander sounds impressive, fingers crossed for a successful landing.

Sarah T. December 26, 2023 - 9:56 pm

It’s amazing, Japan’s really stepping up their space game. SLIM’s precision landing could be a game-changer, can’t wait to see how it goes.

Mike D. December 27, 2023 - 9:28 am

JAXA’s SLIM mission is super exciting, if it lands as planned, Japan’s gonna be in the big leagues of space exploration. Go SLIM!

Jake M. December 27, 2023 - 10:22 am

really cool to see Japan making big moves in space exploration! hope SLIM lands perfectly on the moon, go JAXA!!

Linda K. December 27, 2023 - 2:34 pm

wow, just read about the SLIM mission, it’s like something out of a sci-fi movie. Landing with such accuracy, JAXA’s doing great stuff.


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