Private Spacecraft “Peregrine” Moon Lander Self-Destructs
According to a report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on January 19, the “Peregrine” moon lander launched by the American private aerospace company Astrobotic Technology Inc. on January 8 ended its mission in flames over the South Pacific. Due to a propulsion system failure, the lander, originally intended to complete the world’s first privately funded mission to the moon, was remotely guided to re-enter the atmosphere and self-destruct.
The report stated that a ground tracking station in Canberra, Australia, confirmed the loss of signal from the “Peregrine” at 20:59 GMT on the 18th (04:59 Beijing time on the 19th). Astrobotic Technology Inc. also stated that they lost contact with the spacecraft around 15:30 Eastern Time on the 18th (04:30 Beijing time on the 19th), indicating that the spacecraft had crashed in the open waters of the South Pacific. The company is awaiting official confirmation from the authorities.
According to the plan, the “Peregrine” moon lander was supposed to deliver five instruments from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to the lunar surface in preparation for NASA’s future manned moon missions. If successful, the “Peregrine” would have achieved the first successful American moon landing in half a century and marked the first time a private company had accomplished such a feat.
However, trouble arose on the day of the launch. The malfunction was caused by a rupture in the oxidizer tank of the propulsion system, leading to fuel leakage and an unexpected thrust that caused the lander to rotate, preventing its solar panels from consistently facing the sun. The team at Astrobotic Technology Inc. attempted remote operation to restore stability, but this consumed more propellant. Ultimately, the company had to announce the “abandonment of the attempt to land the ‘Peregrine’ on the moon.”
The report mentioned that Astrobotic Technology Inc. will have a second opportunity to land on the moon in the latter half of this year, when they will try to land NASA’s “Viper” rover.
Original title: News Update: Moon Lander “Peregrine” Launched by US Private Aerospace Company Self-Destructs
Editor: Yang Sihai
Responsible Editor: Zhou Shangdou
Review: Feng Fei
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