London, 21 December 2023 – Astrobotic announced that their Peregrine lunar lander has successfully completed all integration milestones and was mated with United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket payload adapter on the 16th of November. After the three week campaign to fuel and complete final checkouts, the Peregrine spacecraft is ready to launch to the Moon on the 8th of January 2024.
Peregrine is Astrobotic’s first lander mission, they are aiming to become the first commercial company to successfully land a spacecraft on the lunar surface. The lander will be carrying 20 payloads, including 5 from NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative.
“I have high praise for the professionalism, dedication, and technical expertise demonstrated by the Astrobotic team throughout the complex multi-year Peregrine development program. Evolving Peregrine from a paper concept to a fully tested spacecraft ready for launch is a remarkable achievement for a small business,” said Sharad Bhaskaran, Peregrine Mission One Director.
After the launch the spacecraft will separate from the rocket, power on, and establish communications with Earth. At this stage, telemetry flowing through the NASA Deep Space Network system to the Astrobotic Mission Control Centre in Pittsburgh will start informing the mission control team of the spacecraft’s position, orientation, and general operational health.
Following separation from ULA’s Vulcan rocket, the Pergrine propulsion system will activate and begin receiving commands from Astrobotic’s Mission Control Center. One of the first commands will initiate thrusters to point the solar panels at the Sun to begin charging the battery. It will enter a stable orbit and attempt to land on the Moon on the 23rd of February 2024.