Fuel leak forces US company to abandon moon landing attempt

NEW DELHI: The first US lunar lander in more than 50 years rocketed to space gave up its hopes on Moon landing after the lander faced a “critical” fuel leak on Tuesday.
Informing that there was “no chance of a soft landing on the Moon”, the company said, “given the propellant fuel leak, there is, unfortunately, no chance of a soft landing on the Moon”.
“The team has updated its estimates, and we currently expect to run out of propellant in about 40 hours from now– an improvement from the last night’s estimate”, the company added.
The robotic lander, Peregrine, built by a private company Astrobotic had been facing several technical problems since its launch Monday.
Shortly after the launch, Astrobotic managed to orient the lander towards the sun for solar charging as a team investigated a “failure in the propulsion system.”
However, it quickly became evident that a “critical loss of fuel” was occurring, casting a shadow over the planned moon landing scheduled for February 23.
The company confirmed that the fuel leak persisted, estimating that the lander would lose solar power within 40 hours.
Peregrine, however, would continue to operate as a spacecraft, the company informed.
‘We continue recieveing valuable data and proving spaceflight operations for components and software relating to our next lunar lander mission, Griffin,” the company said.
Despite the setback, NASA‘s Joel Kearns emphasised that using private companies for moon deliveries involves added risks but represents a more cost-effective and expedited approach.
He stressed that the space agency was willing to accept that risk, noting Monday: “Each success and setback are opportunities to learn and grow.”
The last US moon-landing mission took place in December 1972, marking the end of the Apollo era. The new Artemis program aims to return astronauts to the moon’s surface within the next few years, starting with a lunar fly-around. Source

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