The private Peregrine lunar lander is scheduled to launch toward the moon on Jan. 8, and you can prepare for the mission with prelaunch events this week.
Peregrine, built by the Pittsburgh-based company Astrobotic, will launch atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Vulcan Centaur rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 2:18 a.m. EST (0718 GMT) on Jan. 8. This will be the first-ever launch of Vulcan Centaur, ULA's next-generation rocket.
With a lunar landing attempt slated for Feb. 23, Peregrine could become the first private mission to successfully touch down on the moon. The lander is targeting a lunar region called Sinus Viscositatis to demonstrate its ability to deliver payloads to the moon's surface for NASA's Artemis program. Peregrine payloads will also study the moon's exosphere, regolith, magnetic fields and radiation environment on this first mission.
Starting Thursday (Jan. 4), NASA will kick off its pre-launch coverage with a science media briefing with members from various departments of the space agency, including the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) team, through which Astrobotic's Peregrine lander was selected for this mission. The briefing will be streamed live at 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT).
On Friday (Jan. 5), a media teleconference will be held at 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT) to discuss the lunar delivery readiness for launch. Listeners can tune in online to listen to representatives from NASA, Astrobotic, ULA and the U.S. Space Force answer questions from the media.
Coverage of the Jan. 8 launch will stream live starting at 1:30 a.m. EST (0630 GMT), with liftoff scheduled for 2:18 a.m. EST (0718 GMT). Live updates will be shared on the NASA website, and you can follow along on social media using the hashtag #Artemis. You can find a full schedule of launch activities here.
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Samantha Mathewson joined Space.com as an intern in the summer of 2016. She received a B.A. in Journalism and Environmental Science at the University of New Haven, in Connecticut. Previously, her work has been published in Nature World News. When not writing or reading about science, Samantha enjoys traveling to new places and taking photos! You can follow her on Twitter @Sam_Ashley13.