Astrobotic, the Pittsburgh-based space robotics company, has made significant progress in obtaining data from its crippled lunar lander, Peregrine. Despite facing challenges, the company has been successful in retrieving data from nine out of the 20 payloads onboard.
One of the key achievements for Astrobotic is the establishment of power supply and data reception from four NASA science experiments included in Peregrine’s payload. These experiments include radiation instruments and spectrometers that are instrumental in measuring the radiation environment in cislunar space. Additionally, the Navigation Dopplar Lidar, a NASA technology demonstration payload, is also generating valuable data.
Alongside these experiments, several other payloads are actively generating vital data. The IRIS lunar rover, COLMENA micro-rovers, M-42 radiation detector, and Astrobotic’s Optical Precision Autonomous Landing sensor are among the active and data-generating payloads. These contributions signify significant advancements in scientific exploration and understanding of the moon.
However, not all payloads have been able to contribute as anticipated. The Lunar Dream Time Capsule, a joint project by Japan’s Astroscale and Pocari Sweat, is powered up but unfortunately does not generate any data. Despite this setback, the overall progress made by Astrobotic is commendable.
Unfortunately, the lunar lander has suffered a propellant leak, which has compromised its attitude control and made a soft landing on the moon impossible. Astrobotic’s current hypothesis suggests that a failed valve in the helium pressurization system is responsible for this leak. While the leak does limit the lander’s lifetime, engineers estimate that it still has enough propellant for 48 hours of operations due to the slow leak rate.
Astrobotic’s efforts to retrieve data from the crippled Peregrine lunar lander highlight the company’s determination and resilience in the face of challenges. With ongoing advancements and collaborations between NASA and private entities, such as Astrobotic, the future of space exploration appears promising. Stay tuned for further updates on this exciting journey.
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