Peregrine Lunar Module very likely to burn up in the atmosphere. It’s okay, the doomed probe, which experienced an anomaly shortly after launch and has since fuel is leaking. The specific fate of the probe will be decided at a press conference on Thursday, January 18.
Interestingly, Peregrine has been holding up much longer than expected since January 8, when the fuel leak was first detected. At the same time, it was only a few days ago ruled out a soft landing on the surface of the moon. Peregrine did manage to get within lunar distance (it reached 238,000 kilometers from Earth on Friday and 242,000 kilometers from Saturday), but given where the moon is currently in its orbit, meeting each other was ruled out.
If all goes according to plan, Peregrine would rendezvous with the Moon about 15 days after launch, when it could begin the transition from Earth orbit to Moon orbit. Six days had passed by now, and the Peregrine’s rapidly dwindling fuel supplies likely not enough for the next nine days. It was the fuel leak that made it impossible to determine the trajectory of the probe. According to the latest estimates, Peregrine is on its way to Earth, where probably it burns up in the earth’s atmosphere.
The fact that the Peregrine One mission could end in failure was calculated. This commercial mission was the first of those carried out under the program NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS), and in a pre-launch briefing last week, NASA’s CLPS program manager Chris Culbert said, “We recognize that success cannot be guaranteed.”