Spaceship Carrying Physical Bitcoin to the Moon Launches, Quickly Runs Into Issues

Brian Yue
Last updated: | 2 min read
Physical Bitcoin
Source: Pixabay

Crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX has announced the launch of Vulcan Centaur, a lunar rocket carrying a crypto wallet containing one physical Bitcoin.

The spaceship launched from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at approximately 2:18am Eastern Time on Monday and is set to reach the Moon on February 23.

The physical Bitcoin and the space crew accompanying it will be carried by robotic company Astrobotic Technology’s spacecraft Peregrine-1 after completing its separation from Vulcan Centaur, BitMEX said in a press release published Saturday.

The company noted that the physical BTC is also a crypto wallet containing at least 1 BTC. The wallet will have a public vanity address, meaning that anyone can send the wallet extra Bitcoin during its journey to the Moon.

The Peregrine Mission One seeks to become the first United States moon landing mission since Apollo 11, which saw the first humans land on the Moon in 1969.

In the press release, BitMEX CEO Stephan Lutz said that the Bitcoin Moon mission was a “time capsule” that would represent “one of the most significant human innovations and technological advancements.”

“The mission is a momentous achievement in space exploration, representing the first step of creating a monetary system for a space economy,” Lutz said. “I’m excited to see what lies ahead for decentralised finance where financial systems transcend earthly boundaries and empower individuals across the cosmos.”

Lutz explained that the Bitcoin on the Moon is a “time capsule” that captures one of the most significant innovations in human history. “I’m excited to see what lies ahead for decentralized finance where financial systems transcend earthly boundaries and empower individuals across the cosmos.”

Peregrine Encounters Propulsion Issues

However, shortly after the launch, Astrobotic reported its spacecraft suffered “critical” propellant loss from a fuel leak, and said that it is abandoning its attempt to put the Peregrine on the Moon.

“The team is working to try and stabilize this loss, but given the situation, we have prioritized maximizing the science and data we can capture,” the Astrobotic team said in a statement published Monday night. “We are currently assessing what alternative mission profiles may be feasible at this time.”

According to other updates published by Astrobotic, Peregrine was unable to place itself in a position facing the Sun, most likely due to the aforementioned propulsion issue. This prevented the spacecraft from charging its batteries with solar power.

Shortly afterwards, mission controllers “developed and executed an improvised maneuver to reorient the solar panels toward the Sun,” according to Astrobotic.

“The team’s improvised maneuver was successful in reorienting Peregrine’s solar array towards the Sun. We are now charging the battery,” the company said in an update.

Astrobotic said it still has to fix the original propulsion issue before the spacecraft can feasibly touchdown on the Moon. The spacecraft will now have to use its onboard thrusters and have enough leftover propellant to land on the Moon.