After a botched mission, the first US spacecraft to attempt a moon landing in decades burns up

The Peregrine lunar lander has most likely met its flaming demise after traveling hundreds of thousands of miles through space and struggling with a fuel problem that destroyed its plans. Around 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, the spacecraft was scheduled to come to an end of its abbreviated 10-day voyage when it crashed into Earth’s dense atmosphere over a secluded region of the South Pacific Ocean, directly east of Australia. The Pittsburgh-based business Astrobotic Technologies, which worked with NASA to develop the Peregrine lander, confirmed the spacecraft’s demise by stating that it lost contact with the craft just before the scheduled reentry time, which “indicates the vehicle completed its controlled re-entry over open water in the South Pacific.

 

On social media, the business did, however, add, “we await independent confirmation from government entities.” At a news event on Friday at 1 p.m. ET, representatives from NASA and Astrobotic are anticipated to make public remarks regarding the mission. As the space agency works toward a crewed lunar landing later this decade, Astrobotic and NASA face a setback with this failed mission. NASA’s overarching objective is to construct a stable of commercially manufactured, reasonably cheap lunar landers capable of completing robotic missions to the moon. United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, created the new Vulcan Centaur rocket, which carried the Peregrine lander on its first launch on January 8.

 

With no problems, the launch sent the Peregrine lander safely into Earth’s orbit and set it on a course toward the moon. Since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, this would have been the first US mission to soft-land on the moon if the spacecraft had been successful in reaching the lunar surface. Unfortunately, the Peregrine lander had serious problems a few hours into its single mission. The spacecraft had a serious problem with its onboard propulsion systems, according to Astrobotic, and was losing fuel, which prevented the lander from having enough gas to land gently on the moon.

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