On the evening of Thursday, January 18, the space mission that was supposed to deliver the Peregrine lander to the Moon ended on Earth, with the spacecraft disintegrating upon its return to Earth's atmosphere. The decision to destroy in an uninhabited area was made by Astrobotic (the American space company that organized the mission) after problems arose in Peregrine's control systems that made landing on the moon impossible. The company has I reported They lost contact with Peregrine around 8pm on Thursday, as the spacecraft was beginning its re-entry into the atmosphere over the South Pacific Ocean.
Peregrine's journey had begun about ten days ago with the aim of reaching the moon and transporting some tools to the lunar soil on behalf of NASA, along with several other experiments and the ashes of some people who wanted to be buried on the moon. If successful, Peregrine's mission will be the first U.S. mission to make a controlled landing on the moon in more than 50 years, and the first to be operated entirely by a private company.
(2/2) Peregrine took this video moments after a successful breakup with him @ulalaunch Vulcan missile. Counterclockwise from top left are the DHL MoonBox, Astroscale's Pocari Sweat Lunar Dream Time Capsule, and the Peregrine landing leg. Background: Our Big Blue Marble, Earth! pic.twitter.com/1y4OsosNDp
– Astrobotic (@astrobotic) January 19, 2024
After launching on January 8 from Cape Canaveral, Astrobotic found a leak in one of the lander's oxygen tanks that could compromise the possibility of landing on the moon's surface. However, the company was able to halt the problem by allowing the mission to approach the Moon, before deciding to return to Earth to destroy it while avoiding creating new space junk. Astrobotic has a second lunar mission planned for later this year to deliver NASA's Viper rover to the moon. At least two more lunar missions operated by private companies Intuitive Machines and Firefly are also scheduled this year. Meanwhile, a Japan Aerospace Agency lander will attempt to land on the moon's surface on Friday.
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