A SpaceX rocket was launched to the moon on Sunday by a private Japanese space startup.
The Tokyo company ispace is aiming to land a lunar rover from the United Arab Emirates and a Japanese robot on the moon’s near side when it arrives in about five months, barring any complications.
The rocket lauched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida early Sunday, beginning ispace’s HAKUTO-R mission.
Though U.S., Russian and Chinese space agencies have made moon landings, ispace is one of the first private companies to attempt such a mission.
The company’s founder and CEO Takeshi Hakamada said the launch signified “the dawn of the lunar economy.”
SpaceX has continued frequent launches even as its CEO Elon Musk has been embroiled in a series of controversies over his social media platform Twitter.
SpaceX announced last month that its president and COO Gwynne Shotwell will take over oversight from Musk of its Starbase facility, where the company is planning a mission to Mars.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.