NASA’s iconic meatball logo has been proudly installed on Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander, marking a significant milestone in the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative and its Artemis program. The Peregrine lander is scheduled to launch on December 24 from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, with a crucial mission to deliver a suite of NASA payloads to the Moon.
Once it reaches its destination, Peregrine will target a mare, an ancient hardened lava flow, located near the Gruithuisen Domes. These domes are considered a geological enigma and reside along the boundary between the mare and highlands on the northeast border of the Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of Storms, which is the largest dark spot on the Moon. The payloads carried by Peregrine will conduct various investigations, including analyzing the lunar exosphere, studying the thermal properties of the lunar regolith, assessing hydrogen abundances in the soil at the landing site, measuring magnetic fields, and monitoring the radiation environment.
Astrobotic, in collaboration with United Launch Alliance (ULA), has been diligently preparing Peregrine for integration with ULA’s Vulcan rocket since its arrival on October 30 at the Astrotech Space Operations Facility near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. These final preparations are crucial to ensure a smooth and successful mission.
While NASA remains the primary customer for lunar delivery services, CLPS vendors also accommodate non-NASA payloads. CLPS providers are responsible for managing their activities in compliance with NASA’s schedule requirements. Astrobotic will maintain open communication with the agency, sharing information regarding the launch date, lunar landing date, duration of lunar surface operations, and updates on the temperature conditions that the payloads will experience during transit to the Moon and at the lunar South Pole.
The success of this mission will not only demonstrate the effectiveness of the CLPS model for commercial payload deliveries to the lunar surface, but it will also pave the way for lower-cost methods of delivering scientific and technological demonstrations to the Moon. NASA’s investment in these innovative approaches aims to create a future where many customers can benefit from regular Moon deliveries.
What is CLPS?
CLPS stands for Commercial Lunar Payload Services. It is an initiative by NASA to engage commercial partners in delivering payloads to the Moon.
What are the objectives of the Peregrine lander?
The Peregrine lander’s primary objectives are to investigate the lunar exosphere, study thermal properties of the lunar regolith, assess hydrogen abundances in the soil, measure magnetic fields, and monitor radiation on the lunar surface.
Who are the collaborators for the Peregrine mission?
Astrobotic and United Launch Alliance (ULA) are collaborating for the Peregrine mission, with Astrobotic responsible for managing the lander and ULA providing the launch vehicle.
What is the significance of installing the NASA meatball logo on the lander?
Installing the NASA meatball logo signifies NASA’s involvement and support for the mission. It also reflects the agency’s commitment to the CLPS initiative and Artemis program.
How can I learn more about CLPS activities?
You can stay updated on CLPS activities by following the Artemis blog, @NASAMoon and @NASAArtemis on Twitter, as well as the NASA Moon Facebook and Artemis Instagram accounts.