After a gap of over 50 years, an American spacecraft named Peregrine, containing 20 experiments and various international payloads, including six NASA instruments and a $108 million sensor, is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral on Monday morning.
Additional items carried by the spacecraft include experiments from universities, miniature rovers from Mexico and the U.S., artistic works, condensed time capsules, a digital currency known as bitcoin, and a limited amount of cremated human remains provided by two companies that specialize in memorial space flights.
Although the main focus of the mission is the Peregrine lander, constructed by Astrobotic in Pittsburgh, the launch vehicle is just as crucial, if not more so. This launch marks the debut of United Launch Alliance’s powerful Vulcan rocket, which will replace their previous Atlas and Delta rockets.
The launch from pad 41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station is scheduled for 2:18 a.m. EST on Monday. There are six possible launch times within a 45-minute window, each lasting one second. If there are any problems with the weather or technology, ULA has three days to make more attempts before the launch would be moved to January 23rd.