Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

A rocket carrying a lander prepares to take off

Open in full screen mode

The launch of the Peregrine lander is scheduled for Monday, January 8, 2024, from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Agence France-Presse

A brand new rocket is due to take off from Florida on Monday, with on board the first American device designed, this time, by a private company and which will attempt a first moon landing in more than 50 years.

The Vulcan Centaur rocket from the industrial group ULA, which brings together Boeing and Lockheed Martin, is scheduled to make its very first flight from Cape Canaveral, taking off Monday at 02 18 p.m. local time.

The lander, named Peregrine, was developed by the emerging company Astrobotic, with the support of NASA, which tasked it with transporting scientific equipment to the Moon. – a contract worth US$108 million (approximately $144 million Canadian).

The launch should inaugurate a series of missions supported by the American space agency, which wishes to rely partly on the private sector for its ambitions lunar.

If Astrobotic manages to land on the Moon as planned on February 23, it could become the first company to achieve this feat.

In recent years, aircraft from Israeli and Japanese companies have attempted to land on the moon, but these missions ended in crashes .

LoadingSnow, cold and slippery road conditions in southern Quebec

ELSEWHERE ON INFO: Snow, cold and slippery road conditions in southern Quebec

Leading the return of America on the surface of the Moon, for the first time since Apollo, is a tremendous honor.

A quote from John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic

John Thornton, however, said he was aware of the difficulty of the task and the risks of failure.

About 50 minutes after takeoff , Peregrine must separate from the rocket. Astrobotic will then turn on the device and attempt to establish communication with it. If all goes well, the lander will then continue its route towards our natural satellite.

Once in lunar orbit, the probe will wait until the lighting conditions are right to attempt to land.

The place of landing. The target landing is on the visible side of the Moon, near mysterious domes formed by lava, but which scientists struggle to explain.

Thanks to instruments shipped, NASA must study the composition of the surface, as well as the radiation.

The weather looks rather favorable for takeoff on Monday, but much less so for the following three days – possible dates in the event of a postponement. If necessary, another shooting window will open on January 23.

Open in full screen mode

This photo, taken in December 2023, shows the Peregrine lander. It is prepared to be attached to the Vulcan Centaur rocket from the ULA industrial group, which brings together Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

The mission has also caused controversy because it carries the ashes or DNA of dozens of people, including those of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. This is a partnership with the Celestis company, which specializes in commemorative space flights.

The Sending these ashes to the Moon aroused the anger of the Navajo Native American tribe, who denounced the desecration of a sacred place.

Heard on Friday during a meeting with representatives of NASA, the American air regulator and the White House, the tribe did not, however, obtain the postponement of the launch.

Vulcan Centaur, in development for about 10 years, represents the future of the company, said Mark Peller, vice president of the ULA Group.

The rocket, which is around 60 m high, should allow it to replace its Atlas V and Delta IV launchers, and compete with SpaceX with more affordable takeoffs.

ULA plans six Vulcan Centaur launches this year and wants to recover its engines after each flight to increase profitability.

If NASA is only temporary for the January 8 mission, the latter nonetheless represents a major step for the agency, which seeks to encourage the development of a lunar economy .

She thus signed a contract with several companies, including Astrobotic, to send scientific equipment to the Moon. The program, called CLPS, provides crucial financing to businesses.

Another selected company, Intuitive Machines, is also scheduled to launch a SpaceX rocket to the Moon in mid-February.

This new strategy should allow NASA to make the trip more often, faster and cheaper, explained Joel Kearns, senior official at of the space agency.

Missions studying the lunar environment should make it possible to prepare for the return of astronauts to the Moon , which NASA plans as part of its Artemis program.

To date, only the United States, the Soviet Union, China and India have successfully landed a device on the Moon.

A mission from the Japanese space agency (Jaxa) must also attempt to land on the moon in about two weeks. Russia, for its part, spectacularly missed a moon landing this summer.

By admin

Related Post