Updated January 18th, 2024 at 16:10 IST

Astrobotic's Peregrine lander to crash into ocean on Jan 19 after failed Moon mission

Astrobotic's Peregrine lander is expected to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere on January 19 and crash into the Pacific Ocean.

Reported by: Harsh Vardhan
Artist's impression of the Peregrine lander on the Moon. | Image:Astrobotic

Astrobotic's maiden lunar mission is in its final stage and it will end with the Peregrine lander crashing into the ocean. According to the company, the lander is expected to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere at approximately 2:30 am IST on January 19 over the South Pacific. Launched on January 8, Peregrine suffered a propellant leakage just few hours after lift off and the mission team had to redirect the lander toward Earth, deserting the plan of a Moon landing.

In its latest update on January 18, Astrobotic said that Peregrine's re-entry poses no hazards and the mission team, with NASA's assistance, performed a few maneuvers to minimise the risk of debris reaching land.

The Peregrine lander. Image: Astrobotic

"Astrobotic has positioned the Peregrine spacecraft for a safe, controlled re-entry to Earth over a remote area of the South Pacific," the company said in an official statement.

"A safe re-entry is our top priority, so the team developed a two-step maneuver to move the spacecraft and change its projected trajectory," it further said.


The company even released a map of the crash zone which lies between New Zealand and Fiji in the Pacific.

Crash zone of Peregrine. Image: Astrobotic

The Peregrine Mission One (PM1) was the first US-made effort to land on the Moon after the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. The lander was supposed to land on the Moon's near side on February 23 with 20 payloads including five instruments from NASA to study dynamics of the Moon. Astrobotic was awarded a NASA contract as part of the latter Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program to transport the agency's payloads to the lunar surface. 


Intuitive Machines is the second company to win a NASA contract under CLPS and it is also launching a lander to the Moon in mid-February this year.

Apart from NASA instruments and a small rover, the Peregrine lander was also carrying human remains for a ‘space burial’ service offered by Houston-based company Celestis. 


Celestis named the mission Tranquility and announced on January 18 that Peregrine and the remains “harmlessly become a shooting star, blazing as a final tribute to the Tranquility participants aboard.”



Published January 18th, 2024 at 16:07 IST

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