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A rocket carrying a lander prepares to take off

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jan7,2024


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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 to attempt to land on the Moon in more than 50 years, this time developed by a private company.

The Vulcan Centaur rocket from the industrial group ULA, which brings together Boeing and Lockheed Martin, is due to make its very first flight from Cape Canaveral, in London. ripping from the ground at 2:18 a.m. local time Monday.

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 108 million US dollars (approximately 144 million Canadian dollars).

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, Israeli and Japanese companies have attempted to land on the moon, but these missions ended in plane crashes .

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Lead America's return to the surface of the Moon, for the first time since Apollo, is a huge 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. 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 location of ;targeted landing is located on the visible side of the Moon, near mysterious domes formed by lava, but which scientists struggle to explain.

Thanks to the instruments sent, 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 fallback dates in the event of a postponement. If necessary, another shooting window will open on January 23.

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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. A partnership with the Celestis company, specializing in commemorative space flights.

Sending these ashes to the Moon sparked the anger of the Navajo Native American tribe, which denounced the desecration of a sacred place.

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

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

The rocket (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, which plans six Vulcan Centaur launches this year, subsequently wishes to recover its engines after each flight for even more profitability.

If NASA is only temporary for this mission, it nevertheless represents a major step for the agency, which seeks to encourage the development of a lunar economy. p>

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

Another selected company, Intuitive Machines, must also take off for the Moon in mid-February with a SpaceX rocket.

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

These missions studying the lunar environment should make it possible to prepare for the return of astronauts to the Moon, which NASA is planning with 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.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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