Thursday, 20 June 2024
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The first American lunar lander in almost 50 years rockets toward the moon

  • Commercial businesses are racing through space to deliver goods to NASA and other clients.
  • The two companies were awarded millions by NASA to develop and test their lunar landers.
  • The Peregrine lander deal is worth $108 million to Astrobotic.

Following the successful launch of the first American lunar lander in more than 50 years, commercial businesses are racing through space to deliver goods to NASA and other clients.

After catching a ride on United Launch Alliance‘s Vulcan rocket, which zipped across the Florida predawn sky, Astrobotic Technology’s lander embarked on a circuitous journey to the moon, which is scheduled to conclude with an attempted touchdown on February 23. With only four countries having made a successful lunar landing, Astrobotic hopes to be the first commercial enterprise to do it.

US lunar lander

The two companies were awarded millions by NASA to develop and test their lunar landers. In addition to carrying NASA technology and science experiments and random items for other clients, the space agency wants the commercially operated landers to survey the area before humans arrive. The Peregrine lander deal is worth $108 million to Astrobotic.

The United States last conducted a moon landing mission in December 1972, when Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt of Apollo 17 became the eleventh and twelfth men to set foot on the moon.

Within the next five years, the space agency hopes to send astronauts back to the moon under the Artemis mission. Possibly before the year ends, the first will involve a four-person lunar fly-around.

The long-awaited Vulcan rocket’s first test flight from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station was the highlight of Monday’s moonshot. In essence, ULA’s 202-foot (61-meter) rocket is an enhanced version of the company’s Atlas V, which is being phased out along with the Delta IV. The two primary engines of the Vulcan were supplied by Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ rocket business.

Next month, Intuitive Machines’ lander will be launched by SpaceX. Both spacecraft may attempt to land within days or even hours of each other if the Nova-C lander takes the more direct one-week approach.

Apart from doing NASA studies, Astrobotic established a freight company and loaded the 6-foot-tall Peregrine lander with commodities like as DNA and ashes of deceased space enthusiasts.

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