Astrobotic orders Falcon Heavy for its third lunar mission

Astrobotic has announced that it is using a Falcon Heavy rocket for its third lunar mission. Its launch is scheduled for 2026.

Astrobotic’s Lunar Plans

Astrobotic was founded in 2007 with the aim of participating in the Google Lunar X Prize competition. Despite the cancellation of the competition, the company continued work on the creation of the lunar apparatus. These efforts have brought results. NASA has included Astrobotic in the CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program. Its main goal is to attract commercial companies to the exploration of the Moon.

Peregrine on the Moon (concept). Source: Astrobotic

At the moment, Astrobotic has two contracts under the CLPS program. As part of its first lunar mission, it will send a Peregrine lander to the Moon. It will carry 24 loads on board. Approximately half of them are provided by NASA, and the rest by various commercial customers. A new Vulcan rocket will be used for the mission, which first flight has been repeatedly postponed due to various technical problems. At the moment, the launch of Peregrine is tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2023.

As part of its second contract under the CLPS program, Astrobotic will land a VIPER rover on the Moon. The Falcon Heavy rocket will be used for this mission, its implementation is planned for 2024.

New Astrobotic Mission

The third lunar Astrobotic mission will be implemented independently, outside the CLPS program. Within its framework, the company intends to maximize the capabilities of the Falcon Heavy. Astrobotic plans to deliver several hundred kilograms of payload from various commercial customers to the south pole of the Moon, as well as deploy spacecraft in lunar space. The launch of the mission is scheduled for 2026.

Falcon Heavy rocket. Source: SpaceX

At the moment, representatives of Astrobotic have not named the companies that will take part in its third mission. It is also unknown exactly how cargo will be delivered to the south pole of the Moon — with the help of the platforms Peregrine and Griffin already at its disposal, or some other apparatus.

According to

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