Pittsburgh-based aerospace company, Astrobotic, is set to make history this week.
Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lander will be the first commercial lunar lander to carry a payload to the surface of the moon.
Scheduled to launch on January 8, 2024, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket, this mission will be a monumental leap in space technology and private lunar exploration.
The Peregrine Lander is a pivotal part of NASA’s initiative to enhance lunar exploration capabilities through partnerships with private companies.
The lander is targeted to land near the Gruithuisen Domes region of the moon.
Laden with NASA payloads aiming to advance the understanding of the lunar environment, Peregrine’s landing on the moon is targeted for February 23, 2024.
Astrobotic’s commitment to delivering not only NASA payloads but also around 15 non-NASA payloads, including a lunar rover from Carnegie Mellon University and a project from the Mexican Space Agency called Coleman, gives a hint at the future of moon missions as a collaboration between multiple companies.
The mission is funded in part by a $79.5 million dollar grant from the NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, which has donated a substantial amount of money to propel the private development of lunar landers.
The Peregrine mission’s impact extends beyond Astrobotic; it marks the inaugural flight of Blue Origin’s BE-4 rocket engines on Vulcan’s booster stage.
With multiple lunar missions slated for 2024, including those by Intuitive Machines and Japan’s ispace, this year could witness the historic moment when a private company lands a spacecraft on the Moon.
All of these projects are critical to NASA’s strategy to send humans back to the moon and to build and maintain a working habitat there within the next decade.