Cape Canaveral, Florida — A private company said Monday its moon landing is in jeopardy after a propulsion problem prevented the newly launched spacecraft from pointing toward the sun for power.

Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technology raced to orient the lander toward the sun so its solar panel could collect sunlight, as its battery power dwindled.

The problem arose about seven hours after Monday’s predawn liftoff from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket provided the lift for Astrobotic’s lander, named Peregrine, putting it on a long, roundabout path to the moon.

If the propulsion system is at fault, it “threatens the ability of the spacecraft to soft land on the moon” on Feb. 23, the company said in a statement.

“We continue to gather data and report our best assessment of what we see,” the company added.

Astrobotic was aiming to be the first private business to successfully land on the moon, something only four countries have accomplished. A second lander from a Houston company is due to launch next month. NASA gave the two companies millions to build and fly their own lunar landers.

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