February 27, 2024

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Bad day for space travel: Lunar lander fuel leaks, NASA postpones missions

Bad day for space travel: Lunar lander fuel leaks, NASA postpones missions

Yesterday, NASA announced that we will have to wait a little longer before humans set foot on the moon again. The last time this happened was in 1972.

After years

A spacecraft carrying four people was supposed to fly to the moon and return for rehearsal at the end of this year, but that has now been postponed to September 2025. After that, it will take at least a year before Artemis 3 can be carried out. With this mission, the agency wants NASA is sending astronauts to the moon again.

In this video we explain what the now-postponed moon mission should look like:

Flights had to be postponed due to problems with the space capsules. These parts “should keep the crew safe.”

For example, defects were found in temperature control and air ventilation. NASA stated that more time is needed to solve these problems.

Commercial lunar landing leaks

The lunar lander currently experiencing problems is not NASA's, but rather that of the commercial space company Astrobotic. The Peregrine lander launched without any problems at the beginning of this week, but once it reached space, things went wrong.

The fuel leak prevented the ship from pointing its solar panels toward the sun. Without sunlight, the ship cannot generate electricity.

The Aviation Administration was able to solve the problem of solar panels coming from the ground, but the same problem returned several times.

Soft landing is impossible

“Unfortunately, due to the leak, there is no chance of making a soft landing on the Moon,” the company said with disappointment. Peregrine had enough fuel to last 40 hours at the time. Until then, the company wants to collect as much information as possible. This data can help with the next task.

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The lander was supposed to land on the moon's surface at the end of next month. No commercial company has been able to achieve this yet. Only the United States itself, the Soviet Union, China and India succeeded in landing on the moon.

The two problems are indirectly related. Astrobotic wants to contribute to new manned missions to the Moon, and has received tens of millions in subsidies from NASA for this purpose.