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Satnews Daily
August 19th, 2019

ULA's Vulcan Centaur Rocket to Launch Astrobotic Payloads to the Moon

Astrobotic has selected United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Vulcan Centaur rocket in a competitive commercial procurement to launch the firm's Peregrine lunar lander to the moon in 2021.

Astrobotic was selected by NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program to deliver as many as 14 NASA payloads to the moon on the company's Peregrine lunar lander in 2021. With this $79.5 million CLPS award, Astrobotic has now signed 16 customers for lunar delivery on its first mission.

Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander will launch on a Vulcan Centaur rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch of this mission will serve as the first of two certification flights required for ULA’s U.S. Air Force certification process. 

Astrobotic CEO, John Thornton, said the company is so excited to sign with ULA and fly Peregrine on Vulcan Centaur. This contract with ULA was the result of a highly competitive commercial process, and we are grateful to everyone involved in helping us make low-cost lunar transportation possible. When the firm launches the first lunar lander from American soil since Apollo, onboard the first Vulcan Centaur rocket, it will be a historic day for the country and commercial enterprise.

Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO, added that the company's rockets have carried exploration missions to the moon, the sun and every planet in the solar system, so it is only fitting that Vulcan Centaur’s inaugural flight will lead the return of Americans to the lunar surface. This partnership represents a true ‘whole-of-government’ approach to how this nation is leading the world in space: NASA contracted with a commercial company to land on the moon, who then went on to contract with a commercial company for a rocket built to serve the national security space market. This highlights the power of the American system of partnership between government and industry to solve the toughest problems and the greatest of our human aspirations.