After a fuel leak following its launch, the Peregrine lunar mission is facing a challenging future. The unforeseen complication, a partial rupture in the fuel tank, has thrown a wrench in the gears, dampening the mission's prospects.
Peregrine, which received a portion of its funding from NASA, unfortunately, failed to enter lunar orbit or even establish a stable orbit around Earth. Despite the setback, the company made the best of the situation, testing as many payload charges as possible in outer space.
A Week Later
Currently, a week after the event, Peregrine remains functional even though the fuel tank stands empty. The vehicle, which was initially set to complete a distant orbit before setting its sights on the moon, is now making its way back to Earth.
Change in Course
The fuel leak caused a shift in its trajectory leading it on a collision course. The mission leaders opted for this, instead of allowing Peregrine to become another piece of orbital debris.
Return to Earth
With disintegration expected on Thursday, most of the elements onboard, including the Celestis capsules carrying cremains and DNA samples, will likely burn up in Earth's atmosphere.
The original design was for Celestis to deposit these remains on the Moon, but due to the unfortunate turn of events, they will be dispersed across Earth instead. It remains unclear as to whether Celestis' clients will be compensated for the unsuccessful mission.
Two Container Launch
It should be noted that Celestis launched two containers during Peregrine's mission. One was located on the lunar vehicle, while the other was on the Centaur V upper stage of the Vulcan rocket.
Successful Secondary Mission
Following Peregrine's ejection, United Launch Alliance reignited the engines for a heliocentric trajectory. This secondary mission, dubbed “Celestis Enterprise,” successfully hit its mark.