Japan is upping the ante in the international space race with the launch Thursday of two groundbreaking missions in a single rocket, one of which could see the country put its first spacecraft on the moon, while the other aims to help shed light on the universe’s origins.

The missions — called the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) and X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) — were both launched from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture at 8:42 a.m. atop an H-IIA rocket, following several postponements due to adverse weather.

Dubbed “moon sniper,” the SLIM project involves using advanced image-based navigation technology and lightweight hardware to demonstrate high-precision landing and obstacle-detection techniques by a small lunar lander.