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Dynetics tapped to produce propulsion system for Peregrine lunar lander

Astrobotic's Peregrine lander in the company's lab in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The first mission of Peregrine is slated to deliver a collection of rovers, scientific instruments, and personal mementos to the surface of the Moon sometime in 2020. Photo Credit: Michael Cole / Spaceflight Insider

Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander. Photo Credit: Michael Cole / Spaceflight Insider

Astrobotic has announced that it has chosen Dynetics to provide the propulsion system for the company’s Peregrine lunar lander. 

Astrobotic's Peregrine Lunar Lander image credit Astrobotic

The Peregrine Lunar Lander. Image Credit: Astrobotic

Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander is designed to send customers’ payloads to the Moon, starting in 2020. Astrobotic hopes to be able to conduct flights to the lunar surface as much as once a year.

If things work out as they are currently planned, Peregrine’s main engines, thrusters as well as other electronics and components will be integrated into the spacecraft by Dynetics. This one system would be used by Peregrine   allow the craft to land on the surface of our nearest celestial neighbor. 

Officials who represent the region from which Dynetics is headquartered, expressed excitement about the potentially historic nature of the announcement via a statement released by Astrobotic. 

“As a child growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, I remember the great pride in America I felt the moment Neil Armstrong stepped from the lunar lander onto the Moon in 1969. That was a defining moment in American history and to this day one of mankind’s greatest achievements. More recently, the renewed focus on commercial space exploration and a return to the Moon has again sparked pride and excitement among the American people,” said U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville. “Like during the Apollo era, much of the work being done to take astronauts to the Moon is happening in the Tennessee Valley. I’m very pleased Astrobotic and Dynetics, a homegrown Huntsville company, are partnering to produce the next generation of lunar lander. As Vice-Chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Space Subcommittee, I congratulate these two firms on their partnership, and I look forward to seeing the end result of their work together.”

This sentiment was shared by other elected individuals, one of which represents the state which Astrobotic is based out of.

“Pennsylvania businesses have a long history of leading innovation,” said Senator Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania via a released issued by Astrobotic.” I’m pleased to see Astrobotic working with Dynetics to put the lunar lander back on the Moon. When American companies come together to achieve a goal, they can outcompete any in the world.”

The “unit” that Dynetics has been contracted to produce, is designed to use a propellant that uses Mon-25 as its oxidizer. It is hoped that its higher nitric oxide content will allow the lander to operate more efficiently between Earth and the lander’s destination some 239,000 miles (384,633 kilometers) above. 

“Astrobotic is thrilled to have Dynetics join our world-class team of partners, and this multi-mission agreement stands to propel Peregrine landers for years to come,” said John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic. “With a proven track record of successfully delivering for NASA and other U.S. Government customers, Dynetics was the right choice for Astrobotic.” 

The engines that Peregrine is set to use will be provided by Frontier Aerospace, who is also developing them for missions that NASA plans to send to the lunar surface.

Dynetics representatives noted the historical significance that the company’s contribution to Peregrine could have on commercial flights to the Moon.

“Dynetics is proud to be partnering with Astrobotic. We are located in the ‘Rocket City’ and our city is known for our years of engineering accomplishments, including landing on the Moon in 1969. Dynetics is excited to build onto that legacy and provide access for commercial customers who want to explore. We stand ready to deliver for this exciting service and help forge a new path forward for America to the Moon,” said Dynetics CEO David King.






Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

Reader Comments

James Lunar Miner

Can we cost effectively and propellant efficiently get various upcoming Landers from low Earth orbit to low orbits around the Moon, Ceres, or Mars using high Isp electric space propulsion systems?

Yes, we can.


“In an effort to cut launch costs, companies are looking to technology to transport small satellites from low Earth orbit to geostationary orbit and to the moon.”

“With electric propulsion, it will take a satellite about four months to move from low Earth to geostationary orbit and six months to reach the moon, said Daniel Hegel, Blue Canyon advanced development director.”

From: “Electric propulsion to send smallsats from LEO to GEO orbit, moon”
By Debra Werner — August 8, 2018

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