The privately constructed moon lander by Astrobotic experiences a possibly devastating abnormality following its launch.

The privately constructed moon lander by Astrobotic experiences a possibly devastating abnormality following its launch.

After a successful launch early Monday

Engineers encountered difficulties in maintaining the proper orientation of the robotic Peregrine moon lander, which could have severely hindered the success of the first U.S. lunar landing mission since the Apollo program over half a century ago.

Astrobotic, the company responsible for building the spacecraft, reported that the initial assessment and activation of Peregrine’s systems after being separated from United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan rocket was successful.


A representation of the Peregrine lunar lander on the moon’s surface.


“The avionics systems developed by Astrobotic, such as the main command and data handling unit, as well as the controllers for thermal management, propulsion, and power, were successfully powered on and operated as anticipated,” announced the company based in Pittsburgh.

The company has stated that their engineers suspect an issue with the propulsion system may be the cause of the problem with pointing towards the sun. If this is confirmed, it could potentially hinder the spacecraft’s ability to safely land on the moon.

Furthermore, Astrobotic reported that the spacecraft’s battery is currently at a critically low level. Instructions were sent to adjust the Peregrine’s position to optimize solar energy absorption, but during this time, the spacecraft encountered a section of its orbit where communication was temporarily lost. Once communication was reestablished, engineers verified that the solar panels were facing the sun and effectively charging the batteries on board.

“The propulsion system failure is resulting in significant loss of propellant. Our team is actively working to stabilize the situation, but our main focus at the moment is gathering as much scientific data as possible. We are also considering potential alternative mission plans at this time,” stated the company.


Before being enclosed in the nose cone, the Peregrine lander was in the clean room.


2018 respectively.

The Peregrine lander, developed by a non-governmental company, will be the first American spacecraft to land on the moon in over 50 years. In 2019 and 2018, two commercial attempts, one by an Israeli group and the other by a Japanese company, resulted in crash landings.2023 respectively.

“According to Astrobotic CEO John Thornton, traveling to the moon and carrying out missions is an extremely difficult task. He mentioned that only half of these missions have been successful, mostly due to financial support from powerful countries. This is a major obstacle that we are fully aware of.”

If there is a day during the mission that does not go well, we will collect all of the data we have received until that point. This will allow us to learn from our mistakes and improve for future missions.


On January 8, 2024, the Vulcan rocket, a powerful lifter developed by United Launch Alliance, successfully launches in the early hours of the morning. On board is Astrobotic’s Peregrine moon lander.


Transporting scientific investigations, a container for preserving items, and the ashes of deceased individuals

Peregrine is the initial project in a sequence of privately-funded moon expeditions supported by the NASA initiative known as the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. The goal of this program is to encourage the advancement of lunar transportation and surface delivery services available for contract.

Astrobotic was compensated $108 million by NASA to transport five advanced scientific tools and a navigation sensor to the lunar surface.

There are a total of twenty experiments and payloads on board, including research instruments, artwork, a time capsule, a piece of Mount Everest, and cremated human remains from two companies that specialize in sending small portions of ashes into space.

On Monday, Peregrine successfully entered an orbit around Earth that follows an elliptical path. This was the first flight of United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan rocket. ULA intends to eventually replace its current Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets with the more efficient and cost-effective Vulcan.

The launch on Monday at 2:18 a.m. EST was successful and Peregrine was released to fly independently approximately 50 minutes later. Shortly after, Astrobotic announced that engineers were receiving telemetry from the lander, showing that the spacecraft had endured the launch without any issues.

The plan for the flight states that Peregrine will stay in its highly elliptical orbit around Earth for initial tests and checks. It will then use its own thrusters to travel towards the moon. The launch was strategically scheduled for a daylight landing near the Gruithuisen Domes, a volcanic landmark, on February 23rd.