According to Astrobotic, the Peregrine spacecraft will be programmed to burn up upon re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.
Shortly after last week’s Vulcan rocket launch from Florida, the lander experienced a significant propellant leak.
Despite their ability to stabilize the situation, engineers were unable to attempt a safe touch-down on the lunar surface due to the loss of oxidizer.
The Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic has chosen to discard the craft, leaving it to float aimlessly through space and potentially collide with other objects.
“Over a secluded region of the South Pacific, Astrobotic has positioned the Peregrine spacecraft for a safe and controlled re-entry to Earth.In its most recent mission update, the business stated, “The team has been continuously monitoring our re-entry analysis with [the US space agency, Nasa].”
“We expect re-entry to occur at approximately 16:00 Thursday, January 18 EST (21:00 GMT).”
There is no chance of a soft lunar landing for the US Moon mission.
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The objective of Astrobotic was to transport five NASA instruments to the Moon’s surface so that they could investigate the surrounding environment before astronauts return later this decade.
If the Peregrine craft had made a successful landing, it would have been the first private endeavor and the first American mission to do so in fifty years.
To date, only government organizations from the US, the USSR, China, and India have succeeded in conducting controlled lunar landings.
However, Astrobotic can take solace in what it has accomplished despite facing a challenging circumstance.