|Research Org||:||Japanese Space Agency (JAXA)|
|Mission launch||:||Cancelled in January 2007|
LUNAR-A is a Japanese spacecraft that was scheduled to be launched in August 2004. After many delays the project was eventually cancelled in January 2007.It would have been carried into space by a Japanese M-V launch vehicle from the Kagoshima Space Center. However, the development of its seismic penetrators will be continued until the end of FY 2007. They will reportedly be used on a future Russian mission, most likely Luna-Glob. JAXA also plans to use the penetrators on other targets
The vehicle would have been cylindrical in shape, with a diameter of 2.2 m and a height of 1.7 m. It would have had four solar panels and was engineered to be spin-stabilized. It would have entered into an elliptical orbit around the Moon, and would have deployed two penetrators at an altitude of 40 km on opposite sides of the lunar body. These were to have been braked by a small rocket at an altitude of 25 km, then free fall to the surface. They were designed to withstand a collision of up to 330 meters per second, and would have readily penetrated the lunar regolith.
The penetrators would have contained seismometers and heat-flow probes. They were designed to operate for a year, and would have transmited data back to the orbiting craft. They were planned to observe lunar quakes and to determine if the Moon has a core. The lunar surface is considered nearly transparent at the transmission frequencies, so the compressed signals would have been received from orbit.
Once the penetrators deployed, the LUNAR-A spacecraft would have maneuvered to an orbital altitude of 200 km above the surface. The craft was to have carried a monochromatic imaging camera with a resolution of 30 m.