The end of the troubled Peregrine Moon Lander has apparently arrived.
Astrobotic lost contact with Peregrine around 3:50 pm EST (2050 GMT) on Thursday afternoon (Jan. 18), Pittsburgh-based company X (formerly known as Twitter) announced.
„This indicates that the vehicle re-entered its control over the South Pacific at 4:04 p.m. EST, and we are awaiting independent confirmation from government agencies,” the agency said. wrote in an update It was posted on the social media site at 8pm EST on Thursday (0100 GMT Friday, Jan. 19).
We'll learn more about Peregrine's mission and its fate on Friday when we host an Astrobotic telecast. You can watch the event starting at 1 pm EST (1800 GMT) here on NASA's Space.com or Directly via the Space Agency.
Related: The failure of the private Peregrine moon lander won't stop NASA's ambitious commercial lunar program
Peregrine launched Jan. 8 on the first flight of United Launch Alliance's new Vulcan Centaur rocket. The Vulcan Centaur did its job well, but Peregrine suffered a severe malfunction shortly after being launched from the rocket's upper stage.
That problem was a fuel leak, which Astrobotic said may have been caused by a clogged valve, which triggered the rupture of an oxidizer tank. However this is a tentative diagnosis; A definitive version will be available during Friday's news conference.
The leak scuppered Peregrine's chances of a trip to the moon, which would have been historic: no private spacecraft had ever successfully landed on the lunar surface. But the probe was operational, running all 10 of its payloads that required juice, and operating for more than 10 days at the final frontier. (Peregrine also carried 10 inactive payloads, including commemorative capsules provided by Celestis and Elysium Space.
Peregrine's five payloads are NASA science instruments that arrived through the agency's Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, or CLPS.
Peregrine's mission is the first CLPS attempt to leave Earth, but another is on the way: Nova-C, a lander built by Houston company Intuitive Machines, is set to launch to the moon next month on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
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