Moon Lander to Burn Up Returning to Earth

Astrobotic's moon lander is due to crash back to earth due to a propellant leak that occurred as the lander separated from the Vulcan rocket.

Rob Spiegel

January 8, 2024

1 Min Read
moon lander
Astrobotic Technology

At a Glance

  • Moon lander experiences an anomaly
  • Mission is moving forward

Looks like the Peregrine moon lander will crash back to earth.

A propellant leak stymied the mission shortly after the moon lander launched on a Vulcan rocket. The lander’s maker, Astrobotic Technology, noted that the lander will not make it to the moon.

Peregrine posted this updated statement on its website:

“Astrobotic’s Mission Control Center has been tracking Peregrine’s trajectory. Our analysis effort has been challenging due to the propellant leak, which has been adding uncertainty to predictions of the vehicle’s trajectory. Our latest assessment now shows the spacecraft is on a path towards Earth, where it will likely burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. The team is currently assessing options and we will update as soon as we are able.The propellant leak has slowed considerably to the point where it is no longer the team’s top priority. A reminder that a soft landing on the Moon is not possible. We have now been operating in space for 5 days and 8 hours and are about 242,000 miles from Earth..”

Here's the current path of Peregrine:

moon lander update

We will update this story as more information appears on the Astrobotic Technology site.

This earlier article covers the background on Astrobotic's Peregrine moon lander.

Description of the anomaly:

About the Author(s)

Rob Spiegel

Rob Spiegel serves as a senior editor for Design News. He started with Design News in 2002 as a freelancer and hired on full-time in 2011. He covers automation, manufacturing, 3D printing, robotics, AI, and more.

Prior to Design News, he worked as a senior editor for Electronic News and Ecommerce Business. He has contributed to a wide range of industrial technology publications, including Automation World, Supply Chain Management Review, and Logistics Management. He is the author of six books.

Before covering technology, Rob spent 10 years as publisher and owner of Chile Pepper Magazine, a national consumer food publication.

As well as writing for Design News, Rob also participates in IME shows, webinars, and ebooks.

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