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Peregrine Lander during EMI testing

Astrobotic Lunar Lander Testing Ahead of Schedule

After completing the next round of testing for the Peregrine lunar lander, Astrobotic is returning the lander back to its headquarters for further development.

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Ashe S.

Ashe S.

Wed Dec 21 2022Written by Ashe S.

After completing the next round of testing for the Peregrine lunar lander, Astrobotic is returning the lander back to its headquarters for further development. The lander is a part of NASA's CLPS program, developed to bring ease of access for lunar exploration and scientific missions.

CLPS

CLPS is a NASA program dedicated to bringing robotic access to the moon in a form never seen before. CLPS, for Commercial Lunar Payload Services, “allows rapid acquisition of lunar delivery services from American companies for payloads that advance capabilities for science, exploration or commercial development of the Moon”. The CLPS initiative sought to lessen the cost and increase the cadence at which science experiments, novel technologies, and robotic missions can explore our closest neighbor. The program initially brought in 9 companies to its roster of candidates for development, but has expanded to 14 as demand increases. Each company has their own lander designed to work on a specific niche in the industry, and provides commercial competition that drives the race to the moon for commercial companies. These opportunities allow governments, agencies, and companies to cheaply have a wide range of access to the lunar surface, allowing for lunar exploration and operation fit for the modern age. Astrobotic is the leader of the CLPS program, and is currently slated to be the first lander to fly, launching in mid 2023.

Peregrine

Developed by Astrobotic Technology, a Pittsburgh based spaceflight and aerospace company, the Peregrine lunar lander will debut on the maiden voyage of ULA’s Vulcan rocket. As part of Peregrine’s construction and testing campaign, it had to go through a rigorous Electromagnetic Interference test, where the spacecraft’s electrical radiance was measured to ensure that there would be no conflict between the craft and the Vulcan rocket during launch. After passing this test with flying colors, Astrobotic will move the lander back to its Pittsburgh Headquarters for temporary holding during the holidays. The next step for the Peregrine’s test campaign will be thermal vacuum testing, which will document how the lander manages heat transfer and management in a vacuum environment. This will be the last structural test before Peregrine will be shipped to Florida for integration and launch testing.

As of now, the maiden launch is scheduled for March 2023, it will likely slip further into 2023.