First U.S. Moon Mission in Over 50 Years a Total Failure

( – Hopes for a moon landing for the U.S. spacecraft Peregrine have been dashed after the moon-bound lander lost all the rocket fuel it needed to make a landing.

Loss of propellant was not the only problem Peregrine faced. Six hours into its flight from the earth’s surface, the solar panels could not be moved to face the sun, which is necessary to generate power. Technicians were able to find a fix to reposition these solar panels, but the loss of fuel spells the end of any hoped-for lunar landing.

The Peregrine is a private spacecraft from the U.S. company Astrobotic Technology; it took off from the famous Cape Canaveral launch site on January 8th. Carrying the craft was a Vulcan rocket that launched at almost 20 minutes past 2 am. The mission included contributions and equipment from several countries, all of which are doubtless experiencing disappointment.

Astrobotic released a statement about the fuel crisis, explaining that a propulsion system failure resulted in a “critical loss of propellant.” While that scuppered any chance of a moon landing, the company said they were doing everything possible to continue capturing sensor data from the craft to get at least some scientific progress from the mission.

NASA, acting this time as a customer to a private space launch, paid $108 million for five payloads aboard the Peregrine that now will not reach their destination.

Science fiction fans will be unhappy to learn that the cremated remains of some of their favorite actors won’t get the moon burial that was hoped for. The Peregrine was also carrying portions of the ashes of several popular writers as well as actors and others associated with the Star Trek television series.

The Peregrine was carrying the ashes of famed author Arthur C. Clarke, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and his wife, Majel Barett, among the remains of several other cast members. Among them were original series actors Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, and DeForest Kelley.

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