TechPeregrine's moon mission in jeopardy as propulsion glitch threatens America's historical return

Peregrine's moon mission in jeopardy as propulsion glitch threatens America's historical return

The start of the Peregrine mission
The start of the Peregrine mission

11:22 AM EST, January 9, 2024

Peregrine's mission, expected to be the first lunar landing conducted by a private corporation, was set to commemorate the return of Americans to the moon for the first time since 1972. Nevertheless, an unexpected glitch may induce a less fulfilling outcome.

"Regrettably, it seems a failure in the propulsion system is causing a critical fuel depletion. The team is working to mitigate losses, but given the circumstances, we are prioritizing the acquisition of scientific data," reads Astrobotic, the company responsible for the mission.

The propulsion system malfunction occurred seven hours post-launch, following Peregrine's disconnection from the Vulcan rocket. This fault rendered the vehicle incapable of correctly aligning its solar panels toward the sun. This issue has been resolved, but the lander may exhaust its fuel reserves before landing on the moon.

Peregrine Mission One is a blend of scientific and commercial aims. As per PAP's reports, the payload included scientific instruments and devices for gathering new insights from the moon. It also contained items such as the ashes of astronauts, a DHL courier consignment, a Japanese isotonic beverage, and a "moon bitcoin" from a Seychelles-based company.

NASA opted to participate in this mission to reduce the costs of lunar payload deliveries, a part of its broader plan to establish a permanent human presence on the moon under the Artemis mission. Astrobotic received $108 million for transporting 14 NASA payloads.

Related content