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You are here News Science Peregrine moon lander heads back toward Earth and should burn up in the atmosphere

Peregrine moon lander heads back toward Earth and should burn up in the atmosphere

Moon lander returns to EarthThe lunar lander whose much-anticipated mission was stymied last week due to a propellant leak is now expected to fly back toward Earth and burn up in the atmosphere.

Astrobotic Technology announced its latest assessment of the Peregrine lander's trajectory on Saturday in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

The company reiterated that "a soft landing on the Moon is not possible."

Peregrine Mission 1 was to be the first time an American company sent a spacecraft to the moon — and the first time the U.S. returned to the lunar surface in more than 50 years.

The lander blasted off on United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Monday.

But Astrobotic quickly identified a "propulsion anomaly" affecting Peregrine and later said the lander was facing a "critical loss of propellant."

Though the propellant leak has slowed, Astrobotic said Saturday that it now expects the lander to burn up as it reenters Earth's atmosphere, adding that it was assessing its options and would share additional updates with the public.

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