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For Astrobotic, big risk (and bigger reward) ride on private Peregrine moon lander's Jan. 8 launch

The upcoming liftoff of a moon lander — Peregrine Mission One — is a nail-biter for many reasons. As a privately built spacecraft, it represents an undertaking advanced by NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. 

The Peregrine lunar lander was manufactured by Astrobotic, a Pittsburgh-based firm, and carries a variety of NASA and commercial payloads. 

So Pittsburgh could soon be considered a gateway to the moon, along with NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and Florida's Space Coast. Helping to make this connection, at Astrobotic's headquarters, there's an adjoining Moonshot Museum that offers the public first-hand looks at lunar lander development.

Peregrine Mission One will launch from the Space Coast on Jan. 8, on the first-ever liftoff of United Launch Alliance's (ULA) new Vulcan Centaur rocket. 

The private moon lander is slated to touch down in late February, planting its legs at the moon's Sinus Viscositatis (Bay of Stickiness), adjacent to the Gruitheisen Domes. The touchdown target is on the northeast border of Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms).

Follow Pegasus Aerospace System on Twitter @systemaerospace. Follow us on Twitter @systemaerospace or Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram @pegasusaerospace.

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