As part of NASA’s groundbreaking Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander is poised for launch aboard United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Vulcan rocket. Encapsulated in the payload fairing at the Astrotech Space Operations Facility near Kennedy Space Center, Peregrine is scheduled for liftoff in early 2024. The mission aims to study various lunar aspects, including the exosphere, thermal properties, hydrogen abundance in the regolith, magnetic fields, and the radiation environment on the lunar surface.
Scheduled for Monday, January 8, at 2:18 a.m. EST from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, this marks the first commercial robotic launch to the Moon’s surface. The mission aligns with NASA’s CLPS initiative and the Artemis program, contributing to the agency’s efforts to explore the Moon and prepare for upcoming human missions.
Live launch coverage, beginning on Thursday, January 4, will be available on NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. Pre-launch events include science media briefings and a lunar delivery readiness media teleconference. Virtual attendance is open to the public, offering curated resources and mission updates. Social media engagement is encouraged, using the hashtag #Artemis to follow and discuss the mission.
As part of NASA’s collaboration with CLPS vendors, Astrobotic’s Peregrine, carrying NASA and commercial payloads, sets the stage for ongoing lunar exploration. The mission’s scientific payload, awarded to Astrobotic in May 2019, paves the way for future CLPS deliveries, contributing to science investigations and technology testing in preparation for Artemis missions.
While the media accreditation deadline for in-person coverage has passed, virtual guests can register to receive mission-specific information and updates. As the Artemis program propels lunar exploration forward, this Peregrine mission represents a crucial step in NASA’s ambitious journey back to the Moon.