AHEAD of sending Britain’s first ever rover to the moon – due later this year – British-Ukrainian space entrepreneur, Pavlo Tanasyuk, is paying tribute to the people of Ukraine by sending a metallic version of its flag aboard the Peregrine Mission One – a commercial space-bound payload due for launch on Monday 8 January at 7.17 UK time.
Pavlo Tenasyuk, founder and CEO of UK-Luxembourgish space exploration enterprise, Spacebit, garnered global recognition in 2019 having developed Britain’s first ever moon rover, known as Asagumo, the deployment of which was delayed due to Covid. It is the smallest robotic moon rover in the world and the first to be designed with spider like legs – hence the name Asagumo, taken from the Japanese morning spider Asa no Kumo that brings good luck. The Spacebit Asagumo moon rover launch is scheduled within a year.
Peregine launch goals
Spacebit’s aim for the Peregrine Mission One comprises material science goals. Tanasyuk commented: “The payload that we are sending consists of various materials that include metals and different space-graded coatings. We hope to test these materials during the flight and lunar conditions so that we can progress to higher TLR (flight readiness level) for the moon-launch of the Asagumo rover. The Spacebit payload also includes a laser edged Union Jack along with artwork by Sacha Jafri and a number of blockchain related payloads that are helping us to fund future missions.”
Tribute to Ukraine
Spacebit is sending a Ukraine metallic embossed flag that includes a map of the country in solidarity with Ukrainian people. This metallic plate uses a new type of coating that has never been tested on the lunar surface before. These paints are water-based and can withstand extreme temperature conditions for hundreds of years to come. A copy of the plate was presented to president Zelensky prior to Russia’s most recent invasion of Ukraine.
Peregrine Mission One or the Peregrine Lunar Lander is a lunar lander built by Astrobotic Technology, that was selected through NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services. It is scheduled to be launched January 8, 2024 by United Launch Alliance aboard a Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle.