08 March 2024

On 8 January 2024, after more than six years of meticulous planning, development and testing, Astrobotic Technology launched their Peregrine lunar lander into space, with the aim of being the first American spacecraft to land on the moon since 1972. Seven hours after launch, a propellant leak was discovered, and the difficult decision was made to abandon the mission and allow Peregrine to burn up upon re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere. One week ago, a follow-up mission from Intuitive Machines did succeed in landing Odysseus on the moon’s surface. But in what was later attributed to both cutting corners and forgetting to unlock a laser’s physical safety switch, Odysseus touched down on its side, hampering its solar panels and communications, and causing the mission to be aborted.

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