Beresheet spacecraft hit moon’s surface at 500km per hour and would have been destroyed on impact

Israel’s Beresheet lander has failed in its attempt to become the first privately funded mission to land on the moon. The 150kg spacecraft began its descent on 11 April but ran into difficulties about 14km above the lunar surface, when the main engine shut down unexpectedly. The spacecraft was still six minutes before the scheduled landing time. Telemetry signals received from the lander made it clear that although the engine restarted, the spacecraft hit the moon’s surface at a speed of 500km per hour. At this speed, the spacecraft would have been destroyed on impact.

Related: ‘We have not managed to land successfully’: Israel’s moonshot fails

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