The lander with UAE’s Rashid Rover was on a descent from an altitude of 100 kilometers above the surface on Tuesday night before it crashed to end up as the newest victim of the Moon.
Tokyo-based ispace was aiming to be the first private company to land on the Moon when its Hakuto-R M1 lander crashed on the Moon., dashing all its hopes. While it was initially not known what caused the loss of the mission, data from the telemetry has now been analysed and the reason is out.
The lander with UAE’s Rashid Rover was on a descent from an altitude of 100 kilometers above the surface on Tuesday night as the landing process began.
However, data reveals that the spacecraft then experienced an unexpected acceleration on its way down to the surface.
The spacecraft was to slow down from a speed of 6,000 kilometers per hour to zero in the final 100 kilometers of its descent from the orbit to the surface of the Moon. This is akin to hitting the brakes on a bicycle at the last moment, right at the edge of a ski-jumping slope.
The lander went into a free-fall towards the surface as its fuel stock was expiring, which could have been used to fire the thrusters to slow it down on the landing approach.