NASA’s CLPS: Peregrine lander: American Moon mission destroyed over Pacific Ocean

Ashes of original cast members and include those of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Arranged by space memorial service Celestis.

Astronomical fee, c o s m i c as rodney might say. OFAH.


Interesting … :+1:

More info:

A US spacecraft has launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to try to perform a controlled landing on the Moon.

It’s aiming to become the first American mission in 51 years to complete a soft touch-down, and the first ever by a private company.

Astrobotic’s robotic lander, called Peregrine, has been contracted by Nasa to carry five scientific instruments.

These will study the Moon’s surface environment ahead of human missions later this decade.

Peregrine is part of a stampede of spacecraft that will attempt to put themselves on the lunar surface in 2024 - possibly as many as eight different projects, including from Japan and China.

The planned 23 February descent will target a smooth lava plain on the Moon’s near-side known as Sinus Viscositatis, or “Bay of Stickiness” - a reference to the type of volcanic material that may have built nearby hills.

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Astrobotic said the mission started to encounter problems as it was being put through post-launch checks.

The issue occurred after communications had been established with Peregrine and all its systems had been powered up.

Peregrine was struggling to maintain a stable lock on the Sun, enabling its solar panels to receive a constant supply of sunshine to generate electricity. Without power, it has no mission.

“The team believes that the most likely cause of the unstable Sun-pointing is a propulsion anomaly that, if proven true, threatens the ability of the spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon,” the company said in a statement, adding: “As the team fights to troubleshoot the issue, the spacecraft battery is reaching operationally low levels.”

It is not unusual for spacecraft to experience technical hitches and Astrobotic engineers will have rehearsed many times how to respond to a variety fault scenarios. And the spacecraft itself will also have been programmed to protect itself during such events, prioritising power and communications back to Earth.

Let’s hope that the engineers can fix the problem … :crossed_fingers:

They have to get it right, no manned flights until they are sure.


Nasa says it is prepared for some of the missions not to work. Speaking to the BBC last month, deputy administrator Pam Melroy, said: “What we have learned from our commercial partners is if we have a high enough cadence, we can relax some of the requirements that make it so costly, and have a higher risk appetite. And if they fail, the next one is going to learn and succeed.”


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MS Melroy talks the talk but the meaning is elusive - what’s a cadence (in this context), what are the requirements that can be relaxed and what’s a higher risk appetite?

There was something about this on the ABC Illawarra News this morning. A local artist’s multimedia work was aboard apparently

Everybody is in on the act.

Let’s hope they have a USB port in 10000 years (I can’t even play a floppy disk I had 20 years ago)

Peregrine lander: Propulsion failure threatens US Moon mission

The company behind America’s latest mission to soft-land on the Moon is battling to save the project. Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic says its Peregrine spacecraft has a faulty propulsion system that’s lost “critical” amounts of fuel. The issue has already made it difficult for the craft to point its solar panels at the Sun to generate electricity and may now scupper the planned touch-down.

Astrobotic has begun talking about reassessing its mission goals. In other words, it’s thinking about what can be salvaged from its original objectives.

Astrobotic’s engineers eventually identified a failure in the propulsion system, a situation apparently confirmed by a picture from the craft showing disturbed layers of insulation. And although they were able to successfully re-point the spacecraft and charge the battery, it was evident, the company said, that Peregrine was losing propellant.

“The team is working to try and stabilise this loss, but given the situation we have prioritised maximising the science and data we can capture,” a statement read. “We are currently assessing what alternative mission profiles may be feasible at this time.”


Private firm Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technology estimated the Peregrine lander would start losing power in about 40 hours.

:face_with_monocle: :confused: :face_with_diagonal_mouth:

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“Peregrine remains operational at about 238,000 miles [383,000 kilometers] from Earth, which means that we have reached lunar distance!” Astrobotic wrote in a post on X on Friday afternoon (Jan. 12).

But the moon is in a different part of its orbit at the moment, far from the lander, the Pittsburgh-based company stressed.
Peregrine is carrying 20 payloads for a variety of customers, including NASA, which put five science instruments on board via its Commercial Lunar Payloads Services (CLPS) program.

All 10 of the payloads that require power are getting it, Astrobotic said in a previous update. (The other 10 payloads are passive.) And some of these instruments are gathering useful data in deep space, though they likely will never reach the lunar surface as intended.

For example, two of the NASA payloads, the Neutron Spectrometer System and the Linear Energy Transfer Spectrometer, “are making measurements of the radiation environment in interplanetary space around the Earth and the moon,” agency officials wrote in an update on Thursday (Jan. 11).

“The two instruments are measuring different components of the radiation spectrum, which provide complementary insights into the galactic cosmic ray activity and space weather resulting from solar activity,” they added. “This data helps characterize the interplanetary radiation environment for humans and electronics.”

So, all is not lost … at least not yet … :slightly_smiling_face:

A fiery end … :slightly_frowning_face:

Hope they got some useful information from data they received.

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Isn’t it that old rule that you can have two out of cost, quality and speed - but never all three. My guess is that back in the 60’s when they were primarily doing manned space flight, NASA would focus on quality to reduce risk. They did not want the bad publicity of astronauts dying. But they were under pressure to get a man to the moon as soon as they could. So the pace of the programme had to be as fast as possible. This meant they were never going to do this at a low, or even quite high, cost. It was going to be a matter of throwing money at it.
Those days of unlimited budgets are over and flights are now without people in the rocket. So they are prepared to reduce costs and let quality slip a bit, and thus let risk go up. Their willingness (better word than appetite) for risk has increased.

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The company hasn’t indicated precisely where and when Peregrine will come down, but independent analysis of its trajectory suggests the re-entry will occur over the Pacific Ocean, somewhere east of Australia.

The astronauts will be aware on any mission that they might not return, brave men.

“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” ― John Wayne.

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Yes, its one of those cases where the bravery of the astronauts is assumed and all the worry is about reputation to NASA and possible de-funding. I don’t know what a Hollywood actor would have had to say about that.

A tracking station in Canberra, Australia, confirmed loss of signal with Peregrine at 20:59 GMT.

Little or no remains of Peregrine were expected to survive intact to the ocean surface. And even if they did, they should have impacted far away from any population.

According to NASA four of the five experiments on the craft were turned on during its flight and successfully sent back data, the fifth was a passive device only for use on the Lunar surface.

Astrobotic’s Peregrine Mission One (PM1) is the first US commercial lunar lander to operate in space. Peregrine carried a diverse suite of scientific instruments, technologies, mementos, and other payloads (totalling 20) from seven different countries, dozens of science teams, and hundreds of individuals.

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