Japan's space agency suffered a setback in its plans to further its lunar program Tuesday as it gave up on landing the country's ultrasmall space probe on the moon, due to a failure to stabilize communication with the lander launched last week.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said the Omotenashi lander could not receive transmissions from Earth to correct its trajectory and position, after its solar cells kept facing away from the sun.

Tatsuaki Hashimoto, who led the project, called the development "deeply regrettable" at a news conference following the decision to forgo the moon landing.