Moon Mission Endangered after Encountering Anomaly

( – The first mission to the moon since the 1970s started experiencing a technical malfunction shortly after takeoff. The Peregrine Mission-1 which was sent into orbit on a massive Vulcan rocket would mark the first successful attempt to land on the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Everything was going well until about seven hours into its flight.

The AP reported that Astrobotic Technology reported that a solar panel on the lander wasn’t angled correctly toward the sun and as such it was failing to generate and store enough energy for the mission. The private company said they were investigating and attempting to fix the problem.

The Pittsburgh-based robotics company used United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket to ship their unmanned lander to the moon. The rocket was launched in the early morning hours on Monday, January 8th, and is slated to make an attempt at landing on the moon around February 23rd. That’s presuming the company can correct the problem.

Astrobotics is attempting to become the first commercial enterprise to successfully land on the moon, something only four governments have achieved in the past. Another company based out of Houston is competing for the achievement and their mission launches in February.

Private ventures have made previous attempts and failed, including an Israeli non-profit, and a Japanese company. China and India made successful landings in 2013 and 2023, respectively.

NASA has funded both companies to the tune of millions of dollars. The NASA deal with Astrobotics for example was worth $108 million.

The latest attempts to return to the moon are a part of the space agency’s Artemis program, so-named as she was Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology. NASA wants to return to the moon with manned missions in the upcoming five years and the unmanned missions are a great first step.

The AP reported that the problem seems to be associated with the maneuvering thrusters as well as a bit of insulation that seems to be out of alignment.

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