• Thu. May 23rd, 2024

First US moon landing in decades: Vulcan rocket carrying Nasa’s Peregrine 1 lunar lander lifts off in Florida

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NEW DELHI: In a historic event, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Vulcan Centaur rocket, carrying Nasa‘s Peregrine 1 lunar lander, successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. This momentous launch, which occurred at 2:18 am EST, marks a significant milestone in US space exploration, potentially leading to the first American moon landing in fifty years.
Vulcan’s debut launch appeared to go as planned, with its second stage booster reaching orbit some 15 minutes after liftoff carrying Peregrine deeper into space.
“Everything looks just spot on, just perfect,” Eric Monda, a ULA mission official, said from the company’s launch control room after Vulcan lifted off for the first time.
The Peregrine 1 lunar lander, a commercial venture developed by space robotics firm Astrobotic, is on a trajectory to make its lunar landing by the end of February. This mission, if successful, will represent the first-ever lunar landing by a private company and the first US soft landing on the moon since the final Apollo mission in 1972.
The Vulcan Centaur rocket, a product of a joint venture between aerospace giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin, has been a decade in the making. It is designed to replace ULA’s Atlas V rocket and compete with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 in the satellite launch market. This launch is particularly significant for ULA, marking a new era in their space exploration endeavors.
Peregrine’s mission is not just a landmark in commercial spaceflight but also a crucial step in scientific exploration. Set to land on the moon on February 23, the lander carries scientific payloads intended to collect valuable data about the lunar surface. This information is expected to play a vital role in planning future human missions to the moon.
The successful launch of Vulcan Centaur and the journey of Peregrine 1 represent a pivotal moment in space exploration, blending the boundaries between government-led and private sector space missions. As the world watches, the success of this mission could pave the way for a new era of lunar exploration and further advancements in space technology.
(With inputs from agencies)



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