Commercial Moon Landing: Over 50 years since Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Astrobotic, a Pittsburgh-based company, prepares for another moon mission. They aim to be the first business space company to land on the moon.
John Thornton, Astrobotic’s CEO, discussed how technology advancements have made moon exploration more accessible and affordable. He said, “If you want, the stars of the moon are in order.”
The Peregrine lunar rover, Astrobotic’s first project, will aid in achieving their goals. Astrobotic built this spaceship in their 47,000-square-foot building. It has advanced technology, ways to move, and ways to talk. The Vulcan Centaur rocket by United Launch Alliance will carry the Peregrine later this year.
If the Peregrine lands safely, it would be a big step in the private space race, which is competitive. This $470 billion business is increasingly focused on its goal: sending people to the moon.
John Thornton emphasized the need for lunar infrastructure to advance space projects. “The less we rely on Earth’s resources and venture into space, the more we can be genuine space explorers and settlers,” he said.
NASA and other agencies ran the first Apollo missions. As private space companies have grown, moon study methods have changed. Most new projects resulted from public-private collaboration. They want to learn more about science and explore space further. Elon Musk, unstoppable, leads SpaceX, which has sent eight crewed trips to the International Space Station. This NASA relationship is crucial.
Making the moon a business-friendly place has been challenging. A recent example is how Japanese company Ispace (9348.T) incurred a loss. Their lunar lander, Hakuto-R, aimed to be the first private spacecraft to land on the moon. However, it crashed due to an altitude miscalculation.