An American spacecraft has disappeared in a remote area south of the Pacific Ocean. It is believed to have burned up in the atmosphere after a failed mission to land on the Moon.

The Peregrine lander, owned by Pittsburg-based Astrobotic, was developed as part of an experimental new partnership between the U.S. Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) and the private sector, with the aim of launching an economic model for lunar exploration that would reduce costs for American taxpayers. 

Launched on January 8, the vehicle experienced an explosion shortly after separation from the rocket. Fuel leaking from the vehicle damaged its outer shell, making it impossible for the vehicle to reach its target.

In its latest update on X, Astrobotic said it lost contact with the spacecraft in the morning hours of Friday, local time, and made a "controlled re-entry over open water" as predicted.

An earlier update, albeit with a large margin of error, had given coordinates a few hundred kilometers south of Fiji for where the craft entered the atmosphere, but that information has yet to be confirmed.

Engineers performed a series of small engine burns to "minimize the risk of debris reaching land" by positioning the golf-cart-sized box-shaped robot over the ocean.

Peregrine spent more than 10 days in space, failing Astrobotic's goal of becoming the first company to make a controlled landing on the Moon, but NASA officials said they will continue their efforts in the belief that more attempts will bring success.

NASA paid the company more than $100 million under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program to send science instruments to the Moon as it prepares to send American astronauts back to the Moon later this decade under the Artemis program.

"Moon Sniper", launched by the Japanese space agency in September, will be the next spacecraft to attempt a soft landing on the Moon shortly after midnight Japan time on Saturday.

If successful, Japan will become the fifth country after the Soviet Union, the United States, China and India to accomplish this feat.