Astrobotic’s Peregrine Moon Lander Disintegrates in Earth’s Atmosphere Written 19 January 2024


Peregrine, Radial Core Heat Spreader; Thermal Energy Conversion Research Hardware. | Credit: NASA

The New York Times reports that a spacecraft that “was headed to the surface of the moon has ended up back at Earth instead, burning up in the planet’s atmosphere on Thursday afternoon.” Astrobotic Technology of Pittsburgh “announced in a post on the social network X that it lost communication with its Peregrine moon lander at 3:50 p.m. Eastern time, which served as an indication that it entered the Earth’s atmosphere over the South Pacific at around 4:04 p.m.” It was a sad end to a trip that “lasted 10 days and covered more than half a million miles, with the craft traveling past the orbit of the moon before swinging back toward Earth.” But the spacecraft “never got close to its landing destination on the near side of the moon.” The main payloads “on the spacecraft were from NASA, part of an effort to put experiments on the moon at a lower cost by using commercial companies.” Astrobotic’s launch “was the first in the program, known as Commercial Lunar Payload Services, or CLPS.”
Full Story (New York Times – Subscription publication)