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The United States will return to the Moon five decades after the last Apollo mission. know when

The United States is set to return to the Moon five decades after the last Apollo mission, Apollo 17, which landed on the Moon on December 11, 1972. While Apollo 17 was a crewed Moon mission, and was launched by NASA, the new Moon mission will be commissioned and launched by a private company. News agency AFP reported that an American company Astrobotic has developed a lander named Peregrine, which is expected to land on the Moon on January 25, 2024.

Peregrine is scheduled to launch from Florida on December 24 via the inaugural flight of United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Vulcan Centaur.

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If Peregrine successfully lands on the Moon, Astrobotic will become the first company to successfully touch down a lander on the lunar surface. Astrobotic CEO John Thornton said Peregrine will carry NASA instruments to study the lunar environment, according to an AFP report. Data obtained from this mission will help NASA’s Artemis crew missions.

As part of a program called Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS), NASA offers contracts to American companies to send scientific experiments, robotic landers, rovers, and technology to the Moon. The goal of the companies is to send most of these spacecraft to the south pole of the Moon. The mission of the spacecraft is to conduct in-situ resource utilization experiments, explore lunar sources, and conduct lunar science experiments. These are fixed-price contracts that could enhance the lunar economy.

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The AFP report quoted Thornton as saying that one of the biggest challenges the company is undertaking involvesEvacuating a launch and landing on the surface of the Moon, for a fraction of what it would otherwise cost.

Thornton also said that only about half of the missions to the lunar surface have been successful, and hence, it is certainly a difficult challenge.

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It will take “a few days” for Peregrine to reach lunar orbit. According to Thornton, to ensure a safe landing, lighting conditions at the target location must be perfect, which is why the company is waiting until January 25 to land the spacecraft.

There will be no human intervention when Peregrine makes an autonomous descent toward the Moon. However, the company’s control center will keep an eye on the landing.

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Earlier this year, Japanese startup iSpace attempted to become the first private company to land on the moon, but the spacecraft crashed.

The only four countries that have successfully landed on the Moon are the United States, Russia, China, and India.

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