This could be the first US spacecraft to land on the Moon since Apollo

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It’s been almost 50 years since an American spacecraft landed on the moon, but the Newly unveiled Peregrine lunar lander from Astrobotic could soon break the dry spell.

After earlier test models, the company recently introduced the Peregrine flight model that will actually fly to the Moon on a United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur rocket. And if all goes according to plan, it will be the first time the United States has put a spacecraft on the lunar surface since the last Apollo mission in 1972.

The Peregrine is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative and Astrobotic said it was the first lander to show off its flight pattern. It’s currently slated to launch sometime in the fourth quarter of 2022 and when it goes up there’s going to be a lot going on.

The Peregrine will carry 24 payloads including scientific instruments from three national space agencies – including 11 from NASA alone – “a rover from Carnegie Mellon University, several payloads from commercial companies and cultural messages from individuals around the world” .

The payloads are already attached to Peregrine’s flight decks, which are still waiting to be installed on the lander. Once all of its bags are packed, the Peregrine will head for environmental testing of the spacecraft before being shipped to Cape Canaveral, Florida to begin its final launch preparations.

NASA’s CLPS initiative works with other aerospace companies, including Intuitive Machines and Firefly Aerospace, which have also been tasked with ferrying payloads to the Moon. Astrobotic has also been tasked with delivering NASA’s Viper mobile robot in late 2023.

Image Credit: Astrobotic Technology

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