Astrobotics Peregrine Lunar Lander’s Earth Reentry After Failed Moon Landing
Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander is set to reenter Earth’s atmosphere tomorrow, concluding its failed moon landing mission. The spacecraft, intended to explore the moon, will reenter over the South Pacific Ocean following a launch anomaly and subsequent propellant leak.
Launch and Anomaly
The Peregrine lunar lander was launched on January 8 aboard United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur without issues. However, a few hours after deployment, an anomaly was reported – an ongoing propellant leak inhibiting the spacecraft from pointing its solar arrays at the sun.
Failed Mission and Reentry Strategy
Astrobotic engineers successfully reoriented the arrays but suspect a critical propellant leak as the root cause. With no chance of a soft moon landing, the mission’s lifespan exceeded expectations. The company devised a two-step process to maneuver the spacecraft for reentry, featuring short main engine burns and trajectory adjustments to direct the craft towards the South Pacific Ocean, minimizing the risk of debris reaching land.
Collaboration and Valuable Data
Astrobotic has collaborated with NASA and relevant authorities to ensure safe and predictable reentry. Despite missing the mission objective, valuable data from payloads, including scientific instruments and research backed by a $79.5 million contract awarded to Astrobotic by NASA in 2019, has been obtained.
– Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander will reenter Earth’s atmosphere over the South Pacific Ocean after a failed moon landing mission.
– An ongoing propellant leak following launch prevented the spacecraft from achieving its mission objective.
– Astrobotic collaborated with NASA and government authorities to ensure safe reentry and minimize the risk of debris reaching land.
– Despite the mission setback, valuable data from various payloads, including NASA-backed research, has been acquired.