The postponed liftoff of an H2A rocket carrying the Japanese space agency's lunar lander has been set for Thursday, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said Monday.

The domestically produced rocket is planned to take off around 8:42 a.m. Thursday from Tanegashima Space Center on Tanegashima Island in the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima, the company said. The move follows a postponement due to strong winds a week earlier that was decided around 30 minutes before the planned liftoff.

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)

As part of its payload, 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.

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.

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.

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