Peregrine is on its way to Earth, where it will most likely burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere / Habr
On January 14, 2024, the Astrorobotic spacecraft development company reported, that Peregrine is at a distance of 390 thousand km from the Earth (further than the distance of the Moon’s orbit). The device began to turn back. Engineers’ updated calculations showed that Peregrine will most likely burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere after the first approach to Earth. Previously, it was assumed that the device, after producing fuel, would fly around the Earth in an elongated trajectory for some time.
The vehicle will soon run out of fuel to maneuver and rotate the solar array. Once the propulsion system is completely shut down, Peregrine’s science instruments will receive less power and will also cascade down as the on-board network power drops due to battery depletion.
On January 13, Astrorobotic specified that Peregrine had flown the distance to the moon’s orbit (384,000 km), but it would not be able to touch down. Fuel leakage on board the device has decreased due to the pressure drop in the propulsion system. According to the updated data, the Peregrine spacecraft has left fuel for 52 hours of flight (previous calculations showed 48 hours, and before that even 36 hours).
Mission Status: Peregrine remains stable and with a fully charged battery. The spacecraft continues to transmit valuable data from telemetry and science instruments.
On January 12, Astrorobotic said that 10 of the 20 probes on Peregrine are powered, 9 (with regular communications systems) are transmitting telemetry, and 10 are idle.
Astrorobotic previously reported that a previous version of the Peregrine suffered a ruptured oxidizer tank due to problems with a stuck valve between the helium tank and the oxidizer.
On January 9, Astrorobotic admitted that a fuel leak on the Peregrine lunar module leaves no chance of a soft landing on the lunar surface.
On January 8, 2024, United Launch Alliance launched a Vulcan Centaur rocket carrying Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander. The spacecraft is supposed to deliver NASA instruments, hardware wallets with DOGE and BTC, test rovers, memorial capsules, drawings, photographs and objects of cultural importance to the surface of Earth’s natural satellite.
A few hours after launch, Peregrine experienced a propulsion anomaly that prevented the vehicle from performing a maneuver to achieve a stable orientation to the Sun. The project team designed and executed an improvised maneuver to reorient the solar panels on the Sun. This maneuver was crowned with success, the landing module began to charge the batteries. Unfortunately, the failure of the propulsion system led to critical fuel losses. Judging by the photo from the on-board camera, the device detected damage to the multilayer insulation, which is an extraordinary situation.