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Forum:Commercial Space - Military Space
Topic:Astrobotic Peregrine lunar lander (2023)
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Robert PearlmanAstrobotic release
Arch Mission Foundation Partners with Astrobotic to Launch Historic Lunar Library

Lunar Library will put Wikipedia, the Long Now Foundation's Rosetta Project, and other archives on the Moon.

The Arch Mission Foundation and Astrobotic today announced a partnership to land the Lunar Library on Astrobotic's first mission to the Moon in 2020. The Lunar Library will last for up to billions of years on the Moon, continuing the Arch Foundation's mission to preserve and disseminate humanity's most important knowledge across time and space.

The foundational components of the Lunar Library will include the Wikipedia, and the Long Now Foundation's Rosetta Project, a digital library of human languages. Additional content and data for the Lunar Library, will be announced in the coming year.

"We're thrilled the Arch Mission Foundation has selected Astrobotic," said John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic. "It's humbling to think our mission to the Moon will deliver something that could be read millions of years from now. Arch's Lunar Library will be a monument not only to human knowledge and culture, but also the first commercial mission to the Moon."

Astrobotic will carry the Lunar Library to the Moon on its Peregrine Lunar Lander and store it on the lunar surface. Astrobotic's inaugural lunar mission is set for launch in 2020 and will include a manifest of payloads from governments, companies, universities, non­profits, and individuals.

"The Arch Mission Foundation has conducted extensive technical diligence in order to select Astrobotic for this lunar mission. We're impressed with Astrobotic's readiness for repeatable lunar missions. Our deep connections in the space industry and space agencies have consistently given us positive endorsements of Astrobotic's capabilities," said Arch Mission co­founder Nick Slavin.

The Lunar Library consists of a set of tens of millions of pages of text and images stored as analog microfiche on thin sheets of nickel. Each page is etched by laser at 300,000 dpi using patented nanolithography technology provided exclusively to the Arch Mission Foundation by Stamper Technologies. The content of the Library can easily be read via a 1000x magnification optical microscope, without needing a computer. Nickel is impervious to radiation as well as the changing temperatures on the Moon, and can last for millions to billions of years in space.

In addition to the nickel microfiche technology, the Lunar Library will also utilize other storage technologies, including the 5D "superman memory" used in the Solar Library mission earlier this year, and data stored in molecular form using new DNA storage technology. More will be announced about these technologies in the coming year.

"Through massive replication around the solar system we will be able to guarantee that the Arch Libraries™ will never be lost ­ even millions to billions of years in the future," said Nova Spivack, co­founder and Chairman of the Arch Mission Foundation. "We can definitely preserve our unique cultural heritage and biological record in a way that will survive for millions to billions of years, and that has not been possible before. We see the Lunar Library as the ultimate in cold storage for human civilization."

The Lunar Library follows the Arch Mission's initial foray into space with the Solar Library, launched aboard SpaceX's first Falcon Heavy flight earlier this year. It marks the 12th lunar payload sale for Astrobotic, which continues to lead the world in lunar sales.

Robert PearlmanAstrobotic release
Astrobotic Selects Dynetics as Propulsion Provider for the Peregrine Lunar Lander

Dynetics will Provide Peregrine Propulsion System for Astrobotic in Multi-Mission Deal

Astrobotic proudly announces today during the 49th anniversary week of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing that the company has selected Dynetics of Huntsville, Alabama as the propulsion provider for its Peregrine Lunar Lander.

Peregrine will return America to the Moon for the first time since Apollo and begin delivering customer payloads once a year starting in 2020. Dynetics will integrate Peregrine's main engines and attitude control thrusters, controller electronics, tanks, and feed system into a single system that performs all propulsive maneuvers from cruise to soft landing on the Moon. The Dynetics-led system will feature a propellant with a next-generation oxidizer called MON-25, which has a higher nitric oxide content to provide better thermal capability to operate more efficiently in deep space environments than previous oxidizers. Dynetics will procure the engines from Simi Valley, CA-based Frontier Aerospace, which is under contract with NASA to qualify the engines for lunar missions.

In keeping with Astrobotic's product line philosophy for reliable lunar missions, the company intends to use the Dynetics propulsion system on ongoing Peregrine missions. With this agreement, Astrobotic further solidifies its supply chain for a dependable, low-cost manifest of missions that enables companies, governments, universities, and nonprofits to plan their campaigns of science, exploration, and commerce on the Moon.

"Astrobotic is thrilled to have Dynetics join our world-class team of partners, and this multi-mission agreement stands to propel Peregrine landers for years to come," said John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic. "With a proven track record of successfully delivering for NASA and other U.S. Government customers, Dynetics was the right choice for Astrobotic."

"Dynetics is proud to be partnering with Astrobotic. We are located in the "Rocket City" and our city is known for our years of engineering accomplishments, including landing on the Moon in 1969. Dynetics is excited to build onto that legacy and provide access for commercial customers who want to explore. We stand ready to deliver for this exciting service and help forge a new path forward for America to the Moon," said Dynetics CEO David King.

Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama and Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania also weighed in on today's announcement.

"As a child growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, I remember the great pride in America I felt the moment Neil Armstrong stepped from the lunar lander onto the moon in 1969. That was a defining moment in American history and to this day one of mankind's greatest achievements. More recently, the renewed focus on commercial space exploration and a return to the moon has again sparked pride and excitement among the American people," said U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville. "Like during the Apollo era, much of the work being done to take astronauts to the moon is happening in the Tennessee Valley. I'm very pleased Astrobotic and Dynetics, a homegrown Huntsville company, are partnering to produce the next generation of lunar lander. As Vice-Chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee's Space Subcommittee, I congratulate these two firms on their partnership, and I look forward to seeing the end result of their work together."

"Pennsylvania businesses have a long history of leading innovation," said Senator Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania." I'm pleased to see Astrobotic working with Dynetics to put the lunar lander back on the moon. When American companies come together to achieve a goal, they can outcompete any in the world."

Robert PearlmanAstrobotic release
Astrobotic Team Selected by ESA to Study Delivery of Lunar Resources Mission

Astrobotic announced today that a team led by Airbus has been competitively selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to study the delivery of a payload package onboard the Peregrine lunar lander around 2025. The study will analyze Europe's first mission to demonstrate in-situ resource utilization on the Moon.

As part of the team, Astrobotic is in charge of showing how the Peregrine lander's international payload delivery service is best suited to carry this ground-breaking European space resources mission to the Moon. The study team also includes Goonhilly Earth Station Limited of the United Kingdom.

This selection comes following the recent announcement that Astrobotic has been chosen as a 10-year provider to deliver NASA payloads to the Moon through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. Astrobotic is the only company to be both selected by NASA CLPS and now by Airbus for this competitively awarded ESA mission study.

"It's incredibly exciting for Astrobotic to be selected by ESA," said Astrobotic CEO John Thornton. "Between our recent win with NASA CLPS, our 12 existing mission deals, and now this selection by ESA, it's clear that Peregrine is the market leading lander service for payload customers around the world."

"Airbus is thrilled to have Astrobotic as a partner on this ESA contract," said Dr. Oliver Juckenhöfel, Vice President On-Orbit Services & Exploration of Airbus. "Having independently vetted the Peregrine lander program during multiple technical milestone reviews, we have seen firsthand how Astrobotic is the mature low-cost delivery service of choice for ESA."

"ESA is not going to the Moon alone and our vision for lunar exploration is based on international partnerships with commercial and industrial organisations. This mission study with Airbus and Astrobotic is a prime example of the new wave of space exploration," said Dr. David Parker, Director of Human and Robotic Exploration at ESA.

Robert PearlmanAstrobotic release
Astrobotic Awarded $79.5 Million Contract to Deliver 14 NASA Payloads to the Moon

Astrobotic's first mission manifest now totals 28 payloads from 8 nations

Astrobotic to add dozens of high tech jobs to the Pittsburgh area

Astrobotic was selected today by NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program to deliver 14 payloads to the Moon on its Peregrine lunar lander in July 2021. With this $79.5 million CLPS award, Astrobotic has now secured 28 payloads for lunar delivery as part of its first mission. Fifty years after Apollo 11, Pittsburgh's Astrobotic is returning America back to the Moon in partnership with NASA.

Today's announcement of a firm fixed price contract to deliver NASA science, exploration, and technology demonstration payloads to the Moon is a culmination of Astrobotic's 12 year history as the pioneer in lunar delivery. Born and bred in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one of America's advanced technology epicenters, Astrobotic is leading the world in lunar payload sales. Astrobotic's 28 payloads represent 8 different countries (including the United States). Payloads comprise of resource development, scientific investigation, technology demonstration, exploration, marketing, arts, and entertainment. NASA's CLPS selection, along with our existing manifest of signed customers, affirm that Astrobotic's American-designed Peregrine lander is the market choice for payload customers worldwide.

"Today is a historic day for Astrobotic and the commercial lunar market," said Astrobotic CEO John Thornton. "It is an awe-inspiring responsibility to be charged with delivering NASA's payloads alongside our existing manifest of customers. Astrobotic was founded on the tenets of technical excellence, credible timelines, and value to customers. NASA's confidence in our services is a testament to the hard work of the Astrobotic team, which spent 12 years making commercial lunar delivery a reality. Today, that hard work has come to fruition. We are proud to join NASA in returning America to the Moon."

Peregrine is a lunar lander product line that will carry uncrewed payloads to the Moon. With Peregrine's robust delivery capacity, the lunar surface is open to companies, governments, and universities, and individuals. The vehicle has passed an industry-standard Preliminary Design Review and the program will build and test a Structural Test Model followed by a Critical Design Review later this year. Peregrine will launch in June 2021 with a planned landing in July 2021.

With 28 payloads now on board for Peregrine Mission One and a healthy payload pipeline for follow-on Peregrine missions to the Moon, Astrobotic is expanding operations and growing its team. Career openings are available online now at the Astrobotic website, and we invite the nation's best technical talent to make history with us.

Robert PearlmanAstrobotic release
Astrobotic Selects United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur Rocket to Launch its First Mission to the Moon

Astrobotic announced today that it selected United Launch Alliance's (ULA) Vulcan Centaur rocket in a competitive commercial procurement to launch its Peregrine lunar lander to the Moon in 2021.

"We are so excited to sign with ULA and fly Peregrine on Vulcan Centaur. This contract with ULA was the result of a highly competitive commercial process, and we are grateful to everyone involved in helping us make low-cost lunar transportation possible. When we launch the first lunar lander from American soil since Apollo, onboard the first Vulcan Centaur rocket, it will be a historic day for the country and commercial enterprise," said Astrobotic CEO, John Thornton.

Astrobotic, the world leader in commercial delivery to the Moon, was selected by NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program to deliver up to 14 NASA payloads to the Moon on its Peregrine lunar lander in 2021. With this $79.5 million CLPS award, Astrobotic has now signed 16 customers for lunar delivery on its first mission.

"Our rockets have carried exploration missions to the Moon, the sun, and every planet in the solar system so it is only fitting that Vulcan Centaur's inaugural flight will lead the return of Americans to the lunar surface," said Tory Bruno, ULA's president and CEO. "We could not be more excited to fly this mission for Astrobotic."

Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander will launch on a Vulcan Centaur rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch of this mission will serve as the first of two certification flights required for ULA's U.S. Air Force certification process.

"This partnership represents a true 'whole-of-government' approach to how our nation is leading the world in space: NASA contracted with a commercial company to land on the Moon, who then went on to contract with a commercial company for a rocket built to serve the national security space market," said Bruno. "This highlights the power of our American system of partnership between government and industry to solve the toughest problems and the greatest of our human aspirations."

Robert PearlmanAstrobotic release
Moon Thrusters Withstand Over 60 Hot-Fire Tests

Future Artemis lunar landers could use next-generation thrusters, the small rocket engines used to make alterations in a spacecraft's flight path or altitude, to enter lunar orbit and descend to the surface. Before the engines make the trip to the Moon, helping deliver new science instruments and technology demonstrations, they're being tested here on Earth.

Above: NASA and Frontier Aerospace are developing next-generation thrusters for use on Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander. In March 2020, thruster prototypes performed over 60 hot-fire tests in a vacuum chamber. (Frontier Aerospace)

NASA and Frontier Aerospace of Simi Valley, California, performed roughly 60 hot-fire tests on two thruster prototypes over the course of 10 days. The tests concluded March 16 and took place in a vacuum chamber that simulates the environment of space at Moog-ISP in Niagara Falls, New York. While replicating mission flight operations, engineers collected multiple data streams, including the pressure and stability of the combustion chamber and the pressure and temperature of the feed system, which delivers propellant from tanks to the thruster.

Being developed under NASA's Thruster for the Advancement of Low-temperature Operation in Space (TALOS) project, the thrusters are designed to reduce spacecraft cost, mass and power – three things that constrain every space mission. Astrobotic Technology of Pittsburgh plans to use the new thrusters aboard their Peregrine lunar lander.

"TALOS is about leveraging the benefits of MON-25, which will reduce the amount of power needed for spacecraft when operating in extremely low temperatures," said TALOS Project Manager Greg Barnett at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

The thrusters burn mixed oxides of nitrogen and monomethyl hydrazine propellants (MON-25/MMH), which are capable of operating at low temperatures for an extended period of time without freezing. Although MON-25 has been tested since the 1980s, no spacecraft currently uses the propellant. TALOS is capable of operating at a wide propellant temperature range, between -40 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. That's compared to state-of-the-art thrusters of the same size that generally operate between 45 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Because MON-25 does not need to be conditioned at extreme temperatures like other mixed oxides of nitrogen propellants, it will reduce power requirements for spacecraft operating in low temperatures, resulting in smaller, lighter and less expensive systems. Reducing power requirements for the spacecraft could potentially reduce the number of batteries and the size of solar panels needed to maintain the spacecraft.

"NASA will soon verify this versatile thruster design for space so that the agency and commercial companies can easily implement the technology in future missions," said Barnett. "Astrobotic plans to use this thruster design on their lunar lander that will deliver science and technology payloads to the Moon for NASA in 2021."

Above: A new spacecraft thruster prototype developed under NASA's Thruster for the Advancement of Low-temperature Operation in Space (TALOS) project undergoes a hot-fire test in a vacuum chamber. (Frontier Aerospace)

The TALOS project is slated to perform engine qualification testing in late summer to ready the thruster design for use on Astrobotic's Peregrine lander. Astrobotic is one of several American companies working with NASA to deliver science and technology to the lunar surface through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, as part of the Artemis program.

In addition to sending instruments to study the Moon, NASA's Artemis lunar exploration program will land the first woman and next man on the lunar surface by 2024 and establish a sustained presence by 2028. The agency will leverage its Artemis experience and technologies to prepare for the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.

The TALOS thruster is being developed by Frontier Aerospace. The project is led and managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Once the TALOS design has been qualified for flight, Frontier Aerospace will build the thrusters for Astrobotic's lunar lander under a project called Frontier Aerospace Corporation Engine Testing (FACET). The Game Changing Development program within NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate funds the technology development project.

Robert PearlmanAstrobotic release
Astrobotic Successfully Completes Peregrine Lunar Lander Structural Model Testing

Astrobotic's Peregrine Mission One program has successfully passed structural qualification testing, marking a major development milestone toward its maiden voyage and lunar landing in 2021. These tests qualify the integrity of the Peregrine lander's structure and its ability to survive launch while carrying payloads from 16 customers.

The test campaign was completed using the Peregrine Structural Test Model (STM), a one-to-one scale representation of Peregrine that was assembled at Astrobotic's new lunar logistics headquarters in Pittsburgh. The majority of the STM hardware elements were manufactured by vendors in the local Pittsburgh area. The STM, in launch configuration, underwent structural testing necessary for mission success.

Testing was conducted over two months at the Dayton T. Brown, Inc. commercial test facility in Bohemia, NY. The campaign proved that Peregrine can withstand the flight environment of United Launch Alliance's Vulcan Centaur, the launch vehicle for the mission. The qualification campaign included static, sine vibration, shock, and vibro-acoustics testing, and was carried out in accordance with NASA standards and process qualifications. Detailed post-test inspections verified the STM met all success criteria, verifying the structural design is ready for the mission to the Moon.

"This is a major step towards verifying the Peregrine design, and I'm really proud that our team was able to meet aggressive schedules while operating under the strict safety protocols required during the pandemic," Sharad Bhaskaran, Mission Director for Peregrine Mission One.

Moving forward, the STM will be used for Peregrine Mission One landing stability testing and future mission configuration studies. Flight structure manufacturing for the mission will begin this fall.

With payloads from 6 countries on board for the first mission, and a recent $199.5 million new contract win from NASA, Astrobotic is expanding operations and growing its team. Career opportunities are available now at the Astrobotic website. The nation's best technical talent is invited to come make history with their team.

Robert PearlmanAstrobotic live video
Hear remarks from NASA, space industry leaders and lawmakers as we unveil the Peregrine spacecraft, set to be the first US lunar lander to touch down on the Moon since the Apollo missions nearly 50 years ago.

Wednesday, April 20, 3 p.m.-3:30 p.m. EDT Watch here.

This groundbreaking event is taking place as the Keystone Space Collaborative hosts the tri-state regions first-ever space conference, to discuss the impact the commercial space industry will have on the region.

Robert PearlmanAstrobotic release
Astrobotic Unveils Peregrine Lunar Lander Flight Model

Astrobotic unveiled the flight model of its Peregrine lunar lander on Wednesday morning during a visit by top NASA and government officials to the company's headquarters. The flight model, as opposed to earlier test models, is the version of Peregrine that will actually fly to the Moon on a United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur rocket. Its unveiling is a sign of Peregrine's state of readiness as it moves closer to its launch date, scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year. Peregrine is the first lander in NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative to unveil its flight model, and could become the first American spacecraft to land on the Moon since the Apollo program.

Above: John Thornton, Astrobotic CEO, with Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander. (Astrobotic)

Attendees of Peregrine's unveiling included Congressman Matt Cartwright, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science, Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator and former U.S. senator, Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, and James Reuter, Associate Administrator for the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate. The officials also attended the inaugural conference of the Keystone Space Collaborative, a consortium of Pennsylvania companies dedicated to growing the local commercial space industry, of which Astrobotic is a member.

Peregrine's unveiling took place at Astrobotic's Pittsburgh, PA, headquarters, an approximately 50,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility dedicated to developing and operating lunar spacecraft. Because the flight model must be kept free of contamination of sensitive spacecraft components, attendees were required to suit up in white coveralls and hairnets to enter the cleanroom where Peregrine is being assembled.

Above: Pictured left to right: Congressman Matt Cartwright, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, NASA Science Associate Administrator Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, John Thornton Astrobotic CEO, Jim Reuter NASA Space Technology Associate Administrator, Justine Kasznica Founding Board Chair of the Keystone Space Collaborative. (Astrobotic)

"This lunar lander build is a dream come true," said John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic. "This is why our company was founded 15 years ago. It represents the culmination of countless hours over many years by hundreds of people to design and assemble the lander, to create the lunar delivery market, and to establish the facilities and supply chain needed to ensure the success of commercial space missions like Peregrine's long into the future."

Also present in the cleanroom were the 24 payloads that Peregrine will be delivering to the lunar surface. These include 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 Earth. The payloads are already integrated onto Peregrine's flight decks, which are awaiting installation on the greater lander. Once Peregrine's integration is complete, it will head to spacecraft environmental testing, before being shipped to Cape Canaveral in Florida to begin its final preparations for launch in Q4 2022.

Robert PearlmanAstrobotic release
NASA's Deep Space Network Ground Testing with Peregrine a Success

Last month, the Deep Space Network (DSN) from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) successfully completed end-to-end test communications with Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander. These tests demonstrated compatibility with space-to-ground communications that will occur during Peregrine's mission to the Moon.

After the Peregrine spacecraft separates from United Launch Alliance (ULA)'s Vulcan Centaur rocket, Peregrine will be utilizing DSN's 34-meter dishes at Canberra, Australia; Madrid, Spain; and Goldstone, California. These dishes are the same suite used to communicate with the James Webb Telescope, as well as historic missions such as New Horizons, Solar Parker Probe, InSight, Juno, and MAVEN.

"Our team has completed a major test with the DSN global network and Astrobotic's communication systems including flight avionics, ground support software, and mission ops infrastructure. We successfully passed commands, received telemetry, and determined ranging performance. The sense of accomplishment was palpable when the screens of our Mission Control center were illuminated by real telemetry coming from our spacecraft," said Eduardo Lugo, Astrobotic Lead RF Engineer.

Testing with Peregrine and DSN was conducted over two weeks, culminating in confirmation that Peregrine can successfully transmit data and receive commands through DSN and to Astrobotic's Mission Control Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"This success marks a major program milestone for Peregrine mission as well as for Astrobotic as a company. Confirming the technical capabilities of our team and our custom-built avionics and communications systems in a sophisticated, system-level spacecraft test was a tremendous success. Seeing the entire team overcome test challenges felt close to flying the actual mission. This is a great accomplishment for our historic trip to the Moon," says Ander Solorzano, Astrobotic's Lead Systems Engineer and one of the Flight Directors for Peregrine Mission One.

Peregrine's progress continues as its Space Robotics team also successfully integrated the OPAL Terrain Relative Navigation (TRN) compute hardware and associated camera to Peregrine's flight decks. TRN is designed to enable precise and safe landings on the Moon, Mars, and beyond. The system will be leveraged again on Astrobotic's Griffin Mission One. In addition to TRN, all twenty-four of Peregrine's payloads have also been integrated with its flight decks.

The Peregrine spacecraft continues its final assembly at Astrobotic's headquarters and is currently on schedule for final environmental testing before delivery to the launch site in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Robert PearlmanAstrobotic release
Peregrine Spacecraft On the Move

Astrobotic announced today (Nov. 16) the Peregrine lunar lander has left their headquarters for the last time. The spacecraft is now headed to test facilities for final acceptance testing before its first launch to the Moon in Q1 2023.

Peregrine's acceptance campaign will subject the spacecraft to a battery of industry-standard tests that will prove Peregrine can endure the launch environment aboard United Launch Alliance's (ULA) Vulcan Centaur rocket, as well as the harsh environments of space and the lunar surface. These spacecraft-level tests follow years of prototyping, engineering analyses, modeling, simulations, and sub-assembly tests that provide high confidence in the fully assembled vehicle.

"A few years ago, we were an 18-person team with a dream. Today, Astrobotic's 200+ staff and our payload customers can celebrate as our Peregrine lander continues its historic mission to lead America back to the Moon for the first time in 50 years," says John Thornton, Astrobotic CEO.

Slated to be the first commercial lunar lander to ever soft land on the Moon, Peregrine is carrying payloads from NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative that was awarded in 2019. Though Astrobotic had payload customers prior to NASA, that win propelled the Peregrine program forward. Despite the pandemic slowing supply chains and disrupting workflow during critical program phases, the team managed to progress quickly toward Peregrine's upcoming delivery to ULA.

"The space industry can move slowly sometimes – but our nimble engineering team proved their dedication and worked around the clock to ensure we met our deadlines," says Sharad Bhaskaran, Astrobotic's Peregrine Mission One Director. "There are folks finishing up Peregrine that were here since its inception. We've added a dedication plaque with all of our signatures to honor that work– every person is important to achieving our mission to the Moon."

After acceptance testing, Peregrine will be shipped to Cape Canaveral, Florida for integration with Vulcan Centaur. After launch, Peregrine will separate from the rocket and Astrobotic's Mission Control Center (AMCC) will then navigate the spacecraft to the Moon for landing. The AMCC will then complete the mission by supporting lunar surface science operations.

Robert PearlmanAstrobotic release
Peregrine Aces Vibration, Acoustics Testing for Upcoming Lunar Journey

Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander has successfully passed its first two acceptance tests, a critical milestone on its path to flight.

Above: Astrobotic and Dayton T. Brown staff lowering Peregrine onto a mass properties table. (Jimmy Kelly/Flight On Entertainment)

Acceptance testing was conducted at the Dayton T. Brown, Inc. commercial test facility in Bohemia, NY. The campaign included sine vibration, and acoustics testing and proved that Peregrine can withstand the flight environment of United Launch Alliance's (ULA) Vulcan Centaur, the launch vehicle for Peregrine Mission One.

"The completion of environmental testing marks a critical step forward in our program. This testing ensured the spacecraft is fully capable of meeting the rough environments it will feel during launch, transit, and landing on the Moon. Successfully completing this harsh testing shows how much preparation, hard work, and perseverance our team has put into this mission. It takes a great team to complete the testing, let alone to do it without a single issue arising," says Pete Frye, Mechanical and Fluid Systems Manager at Astrobotic.

Above: The Peregrine lunar lander undergoing vibration testing. (Jimmy Kelly/Flight On Entertainment)

Sine vibration testing replicates the low frequency vibrations the lander will be subjected to through its mounting adapter inside the Vulcan Centaur fairing during liftoff and as Vulcan leaves Earth's atmosphere. Acoustic testing subjects the lander to the sound pressure waves it will encounter within the fairing during those same phases. These industry-standard tests confirm the lander's structure and propulsion system along with the lander's many sensitive avionics, optics, and payloads will survive this intense loading environment as Vulcan delivers it to space.

"The Astrobotic team is working tirelessly to an aggressive schedule for delivery to the launch site, and in fact these recent tests were completed ahead of schedule. The momentum to launch is apparent in the team's excitement," says Sharad Bhaskaran, Mission Director for Peregrine Mission One.

Above: Astrobotic staff prepare Peregrine for acoustics testing. (Astrobotic)

Peregrine is currently undergoing electromagnetic interference (EMI/EMC) testing. Then, the spacecraft will be sent to thermal vacuum testing before it arrives in Cape Canaveral, Florida for integration with ULA's Vulcan Centaur. Launch is scheduled for Q1 2023.

Robert PearlmanAstrobotic release
Peregrine EMI Testing a Success and Ahead of Schedule

Astrobotic announced today (Dec. 20) that their Peregrine lunar lander has completed electromagnetic interference (EMI/EMC) testing early and will arrive back at their headquarters on December 23.

Above: Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander undergoing EMI/EMC testing at Dayton T. Brown Inc's commercial facility.

Originally, Peregrine was to spend the next week at Dayton T. Brown Inc.'s facility in Bohemia, New York to complete residual integration activities and prepare for thermal vacuum chamber (TVAC) testing. Because the test campaign is ahead of schedule, Peregrine will be brought back to Pittsburgh to give employees an opportunity to be home for the holidays.

"I commend the test teams who worked tirelessly to identify opportunities for an efficient campaign. Peregrine's journey back to Pittsburgh also gives the public an opportunity to see the Peregrine spacecraft one last time before it continues on to TVAC testing, then to Florida for a Q1 2023 launch," says Sharad Bhaskaran, Mission Director for Peregrine Mission One.

EMI/EMC testing checked the electromagnetic compatibility between the Peregrine lander and United Launch Alliance's Vulcan Centaur rocket. The radiated emissions tests proved that Peregrine does not emit electromagnetic energy harmful to the Vulcan rocket, while radiated susceptibility ensured Peregrine can operate properly after being subjected to electromagnetic energy emitted by Vulcan. Finally, "Self Compatibility" testing confirms the spacecraft will function nominally during standard flight operations.

"As Peregrine's first EMI/EMC test campaign, passing against all reviewed test criteria is a major company accomplishment. It really exhibits the skill, experience, and determination of our engineers and technicians," said Yoonhee Steadman, Lead Spacecraft Electrical Integration and Test Engineer at Astrobotic.

The Peregrine spacecraft will be sent to thermal vacuum testing before it arrives in Cape Canaveral, Florida for integration with ULA's Vulcan Centaur.

Robert PearlmanAstrobotic release
Peregrine TVAC Testing Successful, Awaiting Green Light for ULA Launch

Astrobotic announced today that its Peregrine lunar lander has successfully completed its entire flight acceptance campaign. Peregrine is now ready to be shipped to Cape Canaveral, Florida when Astrobotic's rocket provider, United Launch Alliance (ULA), gives the green light to receive it.

"Peregrine Mission One's (PM1) flight acceptance campaign was completed on schedule and exceeded expectations. These tests ultimately proved the quality of Peregrine's design and workmanship over the full assembly and integration campaign. Everyone worked diligently, even through holidays, for this incredible achievement," says Sharad Bhaskaran, Astrobotic's PM1 Mission Director.

The final hurdle, thermal-vacuum (TVAC) testing, proved that Peregrine can survive and operate in the thermal and vacuum conditions of space. The spacecraft was subjected to extreme hot and cold temperatures in the thermal vacuum chamber to simulate conditions during its mission. All spacecraft components were functionally tested as well to demonstrate flight-like operations.

Peregrine will be at Astrobotic headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on public display beginning this Thursday, January 26. Visitors can visit the conjoining Moonshot Museum to catch a glimpse of the spacecraft until ULA is ready to receive it in Cape Canaveral, Florida for its journey to the Moon.

Robert PearlmanNASA release
New Landing Site Will Upgrade Science Returns for Astrobotic Flight

Through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, NASA is working with American companies to deliver scientific, exploration, and technology payloads to the Moon's surface and orbit. The science investigations and technology demonstrations delivered to the lunar surface through CLPS are part of the agency's broader goal of returning humans to the Moon through Artemis, and the success of CLPS could help further establish American leadership in the global and commercial space industries.

Astrobotic's first orders for scientific payload delivery were awarded in May 2019. Astrobotic will deliver NASA payloads on its first flight to the lunar surface using the company's Peregrine lunar lander. These NASA payloads will investigate specific aspects in and around the landing site. Astrobotic also will carry some non-NASA payloads from other organizations.

The original landing site for Astrobotic's flight within Lacus Mortis, which is in the northeast quadrant of the lunar nearside of the Moon, was chosen by Astrobotic to suit its lander performance and safety, as well as Astrobotic's preferences. However, as NASA's Artemis activities mature, it became evident the agency could increase the scientific value of the NASA payloads if they were delivered to a different location.

The science and technology payloads planned for this delivery to the Moon presented NASA scientists with a valuable opportunity, prompting the relocation of the landing site to a mare – an ancient hardened lava flow – outside of the Gruithuisen Domes, a geologic enigma along the mare/highlands boundary on the northeast border of Oceanus Procellarum, or Ocean of Storms, the largest dark spot on the Moon. The Domes are suspected to have been formed by a sticky magma rich in silica, similar in composition to granite.

On Earth, formations like these need significant water content and plate tectonics to form, but without these key ingredients on the Moon, lunar scientists have been left to wonder how these domes formed and evolved over time.

With the selection of the Lunar Vulkan Imaging and Spectroscopy Explorer (Lunar-VISE), a suite of instruments that will investigate the origin and composition of the Gruithuisen Domes in 2026 on a separate CLPS delivery, relocation of Astrobotic's Peregrine CLPS flight to a mare near the Domes will present complementary and meaningful data to Lunar-VISE without introducing additional risk to the lander.

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