The 🇺🇸 U.S first Moon mission in half a decade which was launched on Monday has run into technical problems.
The Astrobotic company behind the project says its Peregrine spacecraft has experienced an “anomaly” that has stopped it from pointing its solar panels stably at the Sun.
Without the ability to charge its battery, the mission’s plan to land on the Moon is in danger.
Astrobotic said engineers were working on the issue and would provide updates when it had more information.
The 1.2-tonne lander was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a Vulcan rocket.
It is aiming to become the first American mission in half a century to make a soft landing on the Moon and the first commercial endeavour to do so.
The US space agency has purchased capacity on the lander for five instruments to study the lunar environment ahead of sending astronauts later this decade.
Astrobotic said the mission started to encounter problems as it was being put through post-launch checks.
The issue occurred after communications had been established with Peregrine and all its systems had been powered up.
Peregrine was struggling to maintain a stable lock on the Sun, enabling its solar panels to receive a constant supply of sunshine to generate electricity. Without power, it has no mission.
“The team believes that the most likely cause of the unstable Sun-pointing is a propulsion anomaly that, if proven true, threatens the ability of the spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon,” the company said in a statement, adding: “As the team fights to troubleshoot the issue, the spacecraft battery is reaching operationally low levels.”