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Failures and successes highlight the week in space exploration

Very few countries have managed to put a lander on the moon before; they include the U.S., Russia, China and India, which did so last year.
Failures and successes highlight the week in space exploration
Posted at 2:14 PM, Jan 19, 2024

The astronauts of Axiom Mission 3 are now well on their way to the International Space Station, marking the first time a completely international team of commercial astronauts will arrive at the ISS. They represent Spain, Italy and Sweden, and include Turkey's first astronaut.

They're expected to dock with the station on Saturday.

"Wow – what a thrill!," said mission Commander Michael López-Alegría, one of the Axiom 3 astronauts. "I couldn't be happier to be here, or prouder of my guys — just a great job all the way uphill."

For others, the week went downhill.

NASA and the private aerospace company Astrobotic Technology confirmed that their lunar lander, the Peregrine, burned up as it reentered Earth's atmosphere on Thursday. That ended any hopes of it being the first American lander to get to the moon in more than 50 years.

In a teleconference, NASA officials said there were lessons learned from this mission.

"We know we will learn more from each flight all the time as we go into the future with more and more eclipse deliveries. As part of our Artemis initiative, there are currently seven deliveries already awarded and there will be more in the future," said Joel Kearns with NASA's Lunar Science program.

However, another lunar lander did make it to the moon.

After what mission control described as "20 minutes of terror," a Japanese lander called Sniper made a careful descent to the moon and successfully landed there —  a first for Japan.

However, as of Friday afternoon, the Sniper lander, also known as the SLIM mission, was facing power issues because its solar panels were malfunctioning.

Very few countries have managed to put a lander on the moon before; they include the U.S., Russia, China and India, which did so last year.

SEE MORE: Japan becomes 5th country to reach the moon


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