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Astrobotic's Peregrine Lunar Lander Set for January Launch

  • Astrobotic's lunar lander, Peregrine, is set for launch on January 8, 2024.
  • Peregrine will carry 20 payloads, supplying power and communication for approximately 192 hours on the moon.
  • Astrobotic operates under a $79.5 million contract from NASA's CLPS program, competing in the lunar payload market.

Astrobotic's first lunar lander, named Peregrine, is prepared for takeoff. The company announced on Tuesday that after being connected to United Launch Alliance's Vulcan Centaur rocket last month, Peregrine has successfully undergone final checkouts and fueling. The only thing left is the launch on January 8, which will follow a significant lunar landing. 

The Peregrine lander, standing nearly two meters tall, will transport 20 payloads for various customers. With a payload capacity of 90 kilograms, it will function for approximately 192 hours after landing on the moon. 

Throughout this time, it will supply power and communication to the payloads. Astrobotic is conducting this mission under a $79.5 million contract from NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. 

Lunar payload market: Astrobotic and competitors

Astrobotic, a company based in Pittsburgh, is among a few commercial players who believe in the potential of a prosperous market for lunar payload delivery services. Alongside Astrobotic, there are other companies like Intuitive Machines, Firefly Aerospace, and the Japanese firm ispace, which faced a failed lunar launch recently. 

Astrobotic and ULA initially planned to launch on December 24, but the date was postponed to allow ULA to finish a wet dress rehearsal. ULA confirmed that the wet dress rehearsal was completed on December 14.

Edited by Shruti Thapa