Innovation from the North Side is heading straight to the Moon, thanks to Astrobotic. Pittsburgh-based aerospace company, Astrobotic, is changing the lunar game in its mission to make space accessible to the world. The company’s lunar lander, Peregrine, will be delivering payloads, or cargo, to the Moon on behalf of companies, governments, universities, non-profits, and individuals.
Alivia Chapla, senior marketing and communications specialist for Astrobotic, helps to sell the Moon. “It’s a weird, interesting job because of the many audiences we appeal to; there are bigger fish like scientists, non-profits, universities, and other governments that are trying to send stuff to the moon,” says Chapla. “Whether it be scientific instruments, demos, or even marketing items. Then it’s down to the individual who can send stuff to the moon as well.”
Astrobotic is pioneering the way for the commercial side of space exploration, and the company is slated to have the first lander to do this. Chapla notes, “We are the first company to open the doors for accessibility.”
“Traditionally, it’s been billionaires and wealthy governments who can pull off this kind of scientific feat, because they have the ability to build rockets, rovers, and landers to send these experiments into space,” Chapla continues. “What inspired us to change this narrative is to make it less expensive. Forgive my pun, but it’s an astronomical amount of money to go into space, and Astrobotic was founded on the idea that we want anyone to access the moon.”
Peregrine Mission 1 will be the first American spacecraft to soft land since the Apollo program. And it will be bringing a full manifest of culturally diverse items as well as some Pittsburgh-centric items thanks to Astrobotic’s MoonBox program. Some of this includes a Ya Jagoff! Podcast episode thanks to Ryan O’Shea from Future Grind, participation from the Heinz History Center, and other organizations including schools, non-profits, corporations, and individuals placing items that will shoot to the Moon.
“We are reinvigorating the excitement and getting the public really engaged about space travel,” says Chapla. “MoonBox gives you a stake in the game, and it’s really cool because people having a MoonBox can know when they look up at the Moon, they have a permanent mark in space.”
It is hard to estimate how much information is headed to the moon on this first mission. One Reddit user offered space on his micro-SD card by letting people submit their items on a thread and received over 33,000 comments of information to include in his MoonBox. In addition, one famous YouTuber, MrBeast, offered space on his MoonBox along with other outlets like Writers on the Moon, allowing space for literature pieces, and Artists on the Moon who offered space of their own, too.
Chapla notes, “If we had to estimate, it has to be more than 50,000 people internationally who submitted information aboard this mission.”
Astrobotic cannot offer any more space on its first, history-making mission, but MoonBoxes are available for future missions. Be sure to check out how to book a MoonBox into a capsule and what you can send, while also checking out the Astrobotic FAQs.