NASA describes progress despite Peregrine’s propulsion failure on its way to the moon

Despite the failure of the Peregrine lunar module, which encountered critical problems with its propulsion system after a successful launch from Florida, NASA stated on Monday that it has “more tools to explore space.”

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson highlighted Monday’s “success” on his X (formerly Twitter) account, referring to the new United Launch Alliance (ULA) Vulcan Centaur rocket that carried the Peregrine module into space early Monday.

According to Nelson, Astrobotic, which is responsible for the Peregrine module, is moving forward with deliveries as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative and the Artemis Return to the Moon program.

The module, which departed to the moon to carry instruments from NASA and several countries, is facing a propulsion failure that would prevent a soft landing on the lunar surface, Astrobotic reported.

The spacecraft’s propulsion problem has already affected its solar power, and now it appears it will affect its arrival on the moon.

The company is attempting to stabilize the failure in the system, which is causing a “critical loss of propellant,” and is evaluating “alternative mission profiles.”

Astrobotic previously announced that it had successfully repositioned Peregrine’s solar panels toward the sun for refueling and reestablished communication with the spacecraft.

The company reiterated that the refueling failure may be related to the propulsion system, which threatens the spacecraft’s ability to make a soft landing on the lunar surface.

Astrobotic’s Peregrine Mission One (PM1) successfully launched early Monday morning atop the powerful new Vulcan rocket from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, but within hours began losing power due to a panel problem.

Astrobotic said the Peregrine module entered a “safe” operating state after liftoff and successful propulsion system activation.

However, “unfortunately, an anomaly then occurred, which prevented Astrobotic from achieving a stable sun-pointing orientation,” it added.

The company said the module, which is 1.9 meters high and 2.5 meters wide, successfully separated from the Vulcan rocket.

In this regard, ULA said that despite the problems with the lander, the first mission of the Vulcan rocket is another step toward returning humans to the moon.

“The first US commercial robotic launch to the Moon successfully lifted off Jan. 8 on the first flight of ULA’s VulcanRocket. Astrobotic’s Peregrine Mission 1 lander is expected to reach the lunar surface in February,” NASA said on its X (formerly Twitter) account.

NASA stressed that Astrobotic is evaluating the situation and will provide more information as it becomes available.

“Each success and setback are opportunities to learn and grow,” said Joel Kearns, deputy associate administrator for exploration at NASA’s science mission directorate in Washington.

“We will use this lesson to propel our efforts to advance science, exploration, and commercial development of the moon,” he added.

The new two-stage rocket launched on Monday with two payloads: the Peregrine lander for NASA and a commercial payload containing DNA samples of three former US presidents and ashes of actors from the original Star Trek television series.

By Ch Fahad khan jnda