Peregrine Lander Faces Fiery Fate as Propellant Leak Forces Early Return to Earth

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Astrobotic Technology announced on Saturday that its lunar lander, Peregrine, which was previously hindered by a propellant leak, is now expected to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. The company’s latest assessment of the lander’s trajectory confirms that a soft landing on the moon is not possible.

Peregrine Mission 1, which was meant to be the first mission in over 50 years for an American company to send a spacecraft to the moon, faced challenges from the start. The lander blasted off on United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Monday. However, Astrobotic detected a propulsion anomaly and later announced the critical loss of propellant, indicating the mission’s uncertain fate.

While the propellant leak has slowed, Astrobotic has concluded that the lander will ultimately burn up during reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. The Pittsburgh-based company is currently assessing its options and will provide further updates to the public.

The NASA program, in which this mission is a part of, aims to facilitate the collaboration between private space companies and the government for the purpose of transporting payloads to the lunar surface. Sending a spacecraft to the moon remains an immense challenge, as highlighted by NASA science associate administrator Nicky Fox.

Astrobotic’s determination and resilience in navigating the difficulties faced by the mission have been acknowledged. The company’s dedication to breakthrough innovations and its willingness to take risks is commendable, according to Fox.

Although the Peregrine lander will not achieve its intended goal, Astrobotic still aspired to bring it as close to the lunar surface as possible before depleting its fuel supply. The mission’s setback underscores the complexities involved in lunar exploration.

To conclude, the Peregrine lander, which suffered a propellant leak, is now expected to burn upon reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. Astrobotic continues to assess its options and provide updates. This mission, part of NASA’s program, aimed to facilitate collaboration between private space companies and the government for lunar exploration.