This photo, taken in December 2023, shows the Peregrine lander being prepared to be attached to the Vulcan Centaur rocket from the ULA industrial group, which brings together Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
The lander, named Peregrine, was developed by Astrobotic with financial support from NASA, which commissioned this company to transport scientific equipment to the Moon, a US$108 million contract.
The launch inaugurated a series of lunar missions supported by the American space agency, eager to encourage the development of a lunar economy. NASA has concluded agreements with several companies, including Astrobotic, to send experiments and technologies to the Moon – a program called CLPS.
This failure therefore also marks a setback for the American space agency, even if it was not directly involved in the maneuver. However, she said she was aware of the risks in betting on young companies.
Space flights are a daring adventure, reacted Monday on X NASA boss Bill Nelson after announcing the difficulties encountered. NASA will continue to expand its reach into the cosmos with our commercial partners, he promised.
Another American company selected by NASA for its program, Intuitive Machines, will try the adventure again very soon: it must take off for the Moon in mid-February at the earliest, with a SpaceX rocket.
The Peregrine lander from the company Astrobotic took off from Florida, aboard the new rocket Vulcan Centaur from the ULA group, which brings together Boeing and Lockheed Martin, on January 8, 2024. Video source: United Launch Alliance via Reuters
The mission of #x27;Astrobotic also carried cargo from private customers on board.
Among them, the ashes or DNA of dozens of people, including those of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the famous science fiction television series Star Trek . A partnership with the Celestis company, specializing in commemorative space flights.
Sending these ashes to the Moon aroused the anger of the Navajo Native American tribe, who denounced the desecration of a sacred place.
Celestis CEO Charles M. Chafer said Tuesday that his company has enough samples to include its customers in a new flight in case the mission fails to complete. the intended destination.
To date, only four nations – the United States, the Soviet Union, China and the United States – India – have successfully landed a device on the Moon.
In recent years, private Israeli and Japanese companies have also attempted to land on the moon , but these missions ended in crashes.
A mission from the Japanese space agency (JAXA) must also attempt to destroy the planet. land in about two weeks. Russia, for its part, spectacularly missed a moon landing this summer.