“Our latest estimates show the spacecraft is heading toward Earth, where it will likely be destroyed in the atmosphere.” The Pittsburgh-based company explains in a statementHe adds that he made the decision to preserve the probe's return path and allow it to be destroyed in the process.
“The team worked tirelessly to stabilize the vehicle,” Astrobotic Technology explains, highlighting the importance of completing the mission without endangering the orbiting satellites and ensuring no more space debris is created.
The company added that the Peregrine probe has been in space for more than six days and is currently 370,000 kilometers from Earth. The successful launch took place on January 8, after the initial date scheduled for December 25 was postponed.
See photos of the probe launch
The attempt to reach the Moon was abandoned after a fuel leak a few hours after launch, in the early hours of January 8.
However, Astrobotic confirmed that it was able to launch scientific experiments that it carried out on behalf of NASA and other space agencies, as well as collect flight data.
The company aims to be the first company in the private sector to successfully land on the moon, something that only four countries have achieved. A second launch is scheduled for February from Intuitive Machines, a Houston company.
NASA, which funded Astrobotic's Peregrine rover with €108 million, intends to conduct special investigations to explore the site before the astronauts arrive. As well as providing technological and scientific expertise to the Space Agency, other countries and universities.
The failure of the mission puts NASA's goal of returning to the moon with the Artemis mission even further, especially since NASA has confirmed that there is A set of technical and security issues related to Orionthe spacecraft that will transport astronauts to the moon, in addition to solving a series of logistical challenges.
In addition to the specific problems with Orion There are other issues that further complicate the timeline for returning to the Moon. The launch of the mission that would launch the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program was considered a success, but the ending was far from what was desired.
Despite acknowledging the setback with Peregrine, Last Monday, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson preferred to highlight on social media the “success” of the new Vulcan Centaur rocket belonging to the ULA industrial group, which took the probe into space.
NASA leaders indicated their desire to continue increasing attempts to reach the Moon for a greater chance of success.
Astrobotic itself will have another opportunity in November with the Griffin lander, which will attempt to take NASA's VIPER rover to the lunar south pole.
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