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Business News/ Science / News/  Peregrine Mission One faces ‘technical issue’, NASA vows to learn from moon mission
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Peregrine Mission One faces ‘technical issue’, NASA vows to learn from moon mission

NASA and Astrobotic are collaborating to investigate the impact of NASA's five science investigations on board the Peregrine Mission One spacecraft, despite the propulsion system failure.

The brand new rocket, United Launch Alliance's (ULA) Vulcan Centaur, lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41d at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on January 8, 2024. (AFP)Premium
The brand new rocket, United Launch Alliance's (ULA) Vulcan Centaur, lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41d at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on January 8, 2024. (AFP)

An American spacecraft ‘Peregrine Mission One’ on Monday suffered a technical issue within the propulsion system that caused a critical loss of propellant. The spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida to perform a controlled landing on the Moon.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Astrobotic have collaborated to ascertain the influence of NASA's five science investigations conducted on board the company's Peregrine Mission One spacecraft.

“Unfortunately, it appears the failure within the propulsion system is causing a critical loss of propellant. The team is working to try and stabilize this loss, but given the situation, we have prioritized maximizing the science and data we can capture," Astrobotic wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

The company is currently assessing the alternative mission profiles that can be feasible at this hour to fix the issue. “We are currently assessing what alternative mission profiles may be feasible at this time."

Hours after the technical issue, Astrobotic informed that an ongoing propellant leak is causing the spacecraft's Attitude Control System (ACS) to operate well beyond its expected service life cycles to keep the lander from an uncontrollable tumble.

Peregrine became the first American commercial lunar lander to launch on a mission to the Moon. Soon after spacecraft separation, Peregrine witnessed a propulsion issue, NASA said in an official statement.

The industry-developed technology, some of which has never flown in space, is used in privately designed and developed spacecraft. The exact cause is still not known.

Joel Kearns, deputy associate administrator for exploration at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate said, “There are many challenges with spaceflight, and we’re incredibly proud of the Astrobotic and NASA teams that have put us one step closer to a robotic return to the lunar surface as part of Artemis."

“This delivery service model is a first for the agency and with something new, there is a higher risk," Joel said.

“NASA is committed to supporting our commercial vendors as they navigate the very difficult task of sending science and technology to the surface of the Moon," he added.

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Published: 09 Jan 2024, 09:11 AM IST
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