US space company upbeat on next Moon mission despite lander’s demise | Space

Nasa Has An Experiment.jpg

NASA has an experimental new partnership with private industry intended to reduce costs for American taxpayers and seed a lunar economy.

The head of the American space company whose lunar lander failed this week in its mission to reach the Moon expressed optimism Friday that the next attempt would achieve its goal.

“I am more confident than ever now that our next mission will be successful and land on the surface of the Moon,” Astrobotic CEO John Thornton told a news conference, highlighting challenges his team had overcome in the “unexpected but very exciting mission.”

Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander was launched on January 8 under an experimental new partnership between US space agency NASA and private industry intended to reduce costs for American taxpayers and seed a lunar economy.

But the lander experienced an explosion shortly after separating from its rocket and was leaking fuel, damaging its outer shell as well as making it impossible to reach its destination.

Thornton called it a “difficult” moment, saying the problem likely stemmed from a faulty valve and that a full investigation would be carried out.

But he remained upbeat about the mission.

“After that anomaly we just had victory after victory after victory, showing the spacecraft was working in space, showing that the payloads can operate,” he said, referring to scientific experiments onboard, particularly from NASA, that were able to gather data.

Thornton said he had “independent confirmation” the crippled Peregrine lander had burned up in the atmosphere as it plunged back to Earth.

Astrobotic’s next mission, scheduled for November, is to carry a rover developed by NASA to the Moon’s South Pole, where American astronauts are meant to explore in coming years.

The Viper rover’s mission is to learn more about the origin and…

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