Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said Monday that the lift-off of a H2A rocket carrying the Japanese space agency's lunar lander was postponed due to strong winds over the launch point.

The domestically-produced rocket was to blast off Monday morning from Tanegashima Space Center on Tanegashima Island in the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima. A new date will be decided within the launch window that runs until Sept. 15, a Mitsubishi official said.

An H2A rocket carrying a lunar lander developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is seen at Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, on Aug. 28, 2023. (Kyodo)

The decision to delay was made 30 minutes before the planned lift-off of 9:26 a.m., a call which the official described at a press conference as being "very painful" but necessary due to the need for careful judgment.

It was the third postponement due to inclement weather since its initial launch date on Saturday.

The rocket will carry the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency-developed SLIM lunar lander which will test technology for pinpoint landings on the Moon's surface.

SLIM is expected to enter the Moon's orbit some three to four months after being launched and to attempt to reach the lunar surface in four to six months.

If successful, Japan will be the fifth country after the former Soviet Union, the United States, China and India to land a craft on the Moon.

India became the fourth country to reach the lunar surface on Wednesday when it deposited its Chandrayaan-3 on the Moon's south pole, with the nation's success coming just days after a Russian lander failed to touch down safely.

Data gathered by Japan from the Moon will be used in the U.S-led Artemis project which aims at returning humans to the Moon by 2025 and advancing lunar exploration. The ultimate goal is for humans to explore Mars.

The H2A also carries an X-ray astronomical satellite, or XRISM, to observe plasma in stars and galaxies. The XRISM project is led by JAXA in collaboration with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the European Space Agency.

Japan's attempt to carve out its place in the international field of satellite launching and space exploration has been hit by multiple setbacks this year including the March failure of the next-generation H3 rocket.