The following NASA statement is attributed to Dr. Nicola Fox, associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington:
As part of NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) initiative, Astrobotic’s Peregrine became the first American commercial lunar lander to launch on a mission to the Moon. Under the Artemis campaign, NASA is supporting exploration through the development of a lunar economy fostering a new commercial robotic delivery service carrying NASA science and technology instruments to the Moon in advance of future missions with crew. The privately designed and developed Peregrine robotic spacecraft uses novel, industry-developed technology, some of which has never flown in space. Shortly after a successful launch and separation from the rocket on Jan. 8, the spacecraft experienced a propulsion issue that would ultimately prevent it from softly landing on the Moon.
Astrobotic said on its current trajectory, Peregrine will re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere on Thursday, Jan. 18, and is likely to burn up. Astrobotic worked with NASA’s assistance to assess the most appropriate action, and this is the best approach to safely and responsibly conclude Peregrine Mission One.
While it’s too soon to understand the root cause of the propulsion incident, NASA continues to support Astrobotic, and will assist in reviewing flight data, identifying the cause, and developing a plan forward for the company’s future CLPS and commercial flights.
Spaceflight is an unforgiving environment, and we commend Astrobotic for its perseverance and making every viable effort to collect data and show its capabilities of Peregrine while in flight. Together, we will use the lessons learned to advance CLPS.
Additional updates can be found on Astrobotic’s platforms.