Peregrine Lander: US company's Moon mission under threat after 'anomaly'

Astrobotic said Peregrine Mission One was running on low battery as it tries to resolve issue

Vulcan rocket launches US private Moon mission

Vulcan rocket launches US private Moon mission
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A US aerospace company's attempt to land a Vulcan rocket on the Moon appeared doomed on Monday after a technical problem.

The Peregrine Mission One (PM1), built by Astrobotic, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Monday morning.

But it experienced an “anomaly” hours after launch.

“Unfortunately, it appears the failure within the propulsion system is causing a critical loss of propellant," Astrobotics said on X.

"The team is working to try to stabilise this loss, but given the situation, we have prioritised maximising the science and data we can capture.

“We are currently assessing what alternative mission profiles may be feasible at this time.”

Astrobotic earlier said the battery was reaching “operationally low levels”.

Should a lunar landing still be successful, the PM1 would be the first private spacecraft to land on the Moon.

The PM1 is part of Nasa's Commercial Lunar Payload Services effort to send science and technology to the lunar service.

One of the pieces on the spacecraft – the Peregrine Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer – was developed by UK scientists.

The instrument is intended to analyse the lunar atmosphere and investigate how hot water might move around the Moon.

The rocket blasted off at 2.18am ET. The spacecraft then separated from the rocket and was flying solo towards the Moon.

The Vulcan rocket launch is the first of two certification flights required by the US Space Force before it can fly Pentagon satellites.

Updated: January 08, 2024, 8:13 PM