The Peregrine lander was launched last week. After departure there was a fuel leak. Therefore, the ship can no longer reach the moon. The peregrine falcon is still flying towards the moon’s orbit. Then he returned to Earth as planned. The intention was that Earth’s gravity would give the spacecraft the final push to cross to the Moon.
Instead, it was decided to crash the lander into the ground. This should prevent space contamination. That’s why flight control was turned on on the engines. With the last remaining fuel, the vehicle was given 23 thrusts, leaving orbit towards the moon and heading towards the Pacific Ocean.
The probe is likely to enter the atmosphere on Thursday evening, around 10 pm Dutch time. Then it becomes a big ball of fire.
The Peregrine One mission was a test flight. Astrobotic plans to conduct commercial flights to the Moon in the future to support US lunar missions. Missions to the Moon are particularly difficult. No space company has ever been able to land on the moon in a controlled manner. Only the Soviet Union, the United States, China and India achieved this.
When spacecraft return to Earth in a controlled manner, they are dumped into the Pacific Ocean. This usually happens in a different part of the ocean, about halfway between New Zealand and Chile. The nearest islands there are thousands of kilometers away, and are also uninhabited. This place is called the “spacecraft cemetery.”