NASA urged Astrobotic to not ship its hamstrung spacecraft towards the Moon

A camera on Astrobotic's Peregrine spacecraft captured this view of a crescent Earth during its mission.

Enlarge / A digital camera on Astrobotic’s Peregrine spacecraft captured this view of a crescent Earth throughout its mission. (credit score: Astrobotic)

Astrobotic knew its first area mission can be rife with dangers. In any case, the corporate’s Peregrine spacecraft would try one thing by no means completed earlier than—touchdown a industrial spacecraft on the floor of the Moon.

Probably the most hazardous a part of the mission, truly touchdown on the Moon, would occur greater than a month after Peregrine’s launch. However the robotic spacecraft by no means made it that far. Throughout Peregrine’s startup sequence after separation from its United Launch Alliance Vulcan rocket, one of many spacecraft’s propellant tanks ruptured, spewing treasured nitrogen tetroxide into area. The incident left Peregrine unable to land on the Moon, and it threatened to kill the spacecraft inside hours of liftoff.

What a wild journey we had been simply on, not the end result we had been hoping for,” mentioned John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic.

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