The US spacecraft that was launched on January 8th, with the goal of landing on the Moon has concluded its mission in flames over the Pacific. Peregrine One encountered a propulsion fault, preventing any possibility of a lunar touchdown, leading to the decision to command its self-destruction.
The private operator, Astrobotic based in Pittsburgh, directed the spacecraft into Earth’s atmosphere, causing it to burn up. A tracking station in Canberra, Australia, confirmed the loss of signal with Peregrine at 20:59 GMT on January 18th.
It was anticipated that little or no remnants of Peregrine would survive intact to reach the ocean surface. Even if any fragments did, they were expected to impact far away from any populated areas.
Photo credit: Astrobotic
EARLIER: Peregrine Mission One to Mark a Milestone as the First Commercial Lunar Expedition
Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander, equipped with NASA scientific instruments under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, embarked on its mission atop United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Vulcan rocket. The launch took place at 2:18 a.m. EST from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Peregrine is en route to the lunar surface, anticipating a journey of approximately 46 days.
The spacecraft will initially remain in low-Earth orbit for system checks before charting its course toward the Moon. Upon reaching the Moon, Peregrine Mission One will orbit for several weeks before aiming for a historic landing on February 23, contingent on successful system evaluations. The mission encompasses various NASA experiments, paving the way for the Artemis program’s goal of putting humans on the lunar surface by the decade’s end.
In addition to a lunar rover and scientific experiments, the lander will carry messages from Earth and even human remains. Astrobotic, the orchestrators of this mission, are already in the planning stages for their next endeavor: transporting NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) to the lunar south pole on their larger Griffin landing platform.