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Astrobotic Peregrine Mission One Update First Commercial Lander First US Lander 50 Years Moon Suffers Propellant Loss Efforts Continue to Stabilize It

Peregrine Mission 1: Pittsburgh-based aerospace and robotics technology firm Astrobotic’s Peregrine moon lander is experiencing propellant loss. As a result, Peregrine’s Attitude Control System (ACS) thrusters are operating beyond their expected service life to keep the lander stable and prevent collapse. If the thrusters can’t keep the spacecraft in a steady sun-facing direction for about 40 hours, the mission, called Peregrine Mission 1, will be in jeopardy.

The amount of fuel consumed by the thrusters to maintain a stable orientation for Peregrine will determine how long the lander remains in the correct orientation, Astrobotic said in a mission update.

Peregrine is the world’s first commercial lander to be sent to the Moon.

The US company intends to get Peregrine closer to the moon’s surface as soon as possible, lest the spacecraft lose the ability to maintain its sun-facing position. If the thrusters ran out of fuel before Peregrine got close to the Moon, the mission would fail.

On January 8, 2024, the Peregrine lander, the first American lander to be sent to the Moon in more than 50 years, encountered an “anomaly” just hours after launch. However, Astrobotic successfully reestablished communications with Peregrine, and conducted a correction maneuver to reorient Peregrine’s solar array toward the Sun.

To identify the anomaly, Astrobotic was charging the batteries, and ground control systems were evaluating the data received.

Due to a failure in the propulsion system, there was a severe loss of propellant. While the teams were trying to stabilize the damage, they decided to prioritize maximizing science objectives due to the severity of the situation.

Astrobotic is currently assessing alternative mission profiles.

However, Peregrine has captured its first image of space using a camera mounted on top of the payload deck. The image shows Peregrine’s multi-layer insulation (MLI) in the foreground. In the image one can see that the MLI is damaged, which provides the first visual evidence of the fact that there is an anomaly in the propulsion system.

Astrobotic has fully charged Peregrine’s batteries, and is using the spacecraft’s existing power to perform as many payloads and spacecraft operations as possible.

All about Peregrine Mission One

The mission, launched at 2:18 a.m. ET (12:48 p.m. IST) on January 8, was the inaugural launch of ULA’s next-generation Vulcan rocket. The rocket launched from Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.

ULA claims that Vulcan’s upper stage, called Centaur V, is the highest performing rocket stage in the world. Centaur V is extremely flexible, and can ensure the most complex orbital insertions in the most challenging orbits. The Vulcan rocket’s engine has been designed by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.

ULA calls this mission the first certification flight (Cert-1) mission, while Astrobotic calls it Peregrine Mission 1. The launch vehicle carried two payloads: Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander, which is a part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (Initiative). , and the Celestis Memorial Spaceflight deep space Voyager mission, also known as the Celestis Enterprise flight.

Celestis Enterprise flight carries personalized flight capsules containing cremated remains, complete human genome DNA samples and the names and messages of many people from around the world.

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