February 27, 2024

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The American moon mission has no chance of a soft landing on the moon's surface

The American moon mission has no chance of a soft landing on the moon's surface

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Astrobotic envisioned a peregrine falcon landing on the moon's northern hemisphere in late February

The company behind the mission said the US lander had “no chance” of making a soft landing on the moon due to a fuel leak.

Astrobotic, based in Pittsburgh, said there is enough propellant to operate the Peregrine lander like a spacecraft.

The lander is expected to run out of fuel in about 40 hours, the company said shortly after 17:00 GMT on Tuesday.

Peregrine ran into trouble as soon as she descended from the top of the launch rocket on Monday.

“Due to the propellant leak, there is unfortunately no chance of a soft landing on the Moon,” Astrobotic said in a statement posted on X, previously Twitter.

“The team has updated its estimates, and we now expect to run out of propellant approximately 40 hours from now – an improvement on last night's estimate.

“The team continues to work to find ways to extend the operational life of Peregrine.”

The 1.2-ton lander was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Monday with the goal of landing in late February.

But in the first few hours of its journey, engineers noticed that the potential lunar lander was struggling to keep its solar panels pointed toward the sun to charge its battery.

The cause was quickly attributed to a major leak in the propulsion system that was pushing the Peregrine out of alignment.

NASA has purchased capacity on board the lander for five instruments to study the lunar surface environment before sending astronauts there later this decade.

Astrobotic is the first of three U.S. companies to send a lander to the moon this year under a new public-private partnership with NASA.

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