Israeli Spacecraft Beresheet Crashes Attempting Moon Landing

Israeli Spacecraft Beresheet Crashes Attempting Moon Landing

So far, only three other nations have carried out controlled "soft" landings of spacecraft on the lunar surface - the United States, the former Soviet Union and China.

India hopes to become the next lunar country in the spring with its Chandrayaan-2 mission. It was built by state-owned IAI and Israeli non-profit space venture SpaceIL with $100 million funded nearly entirely by private donors. We got Israel to the moon, together, this whole team. China made history in January with its Chang'e 4, the first craft to touch down on the dark side of the moon.

The Beresheet was launched from Cape Canaveral with the aid of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in February.

But before its untimely demise, Beresheet was able to turn its camera toward the lunar surface one final time to snap a stunning last image of the moon's surface. No other spacecraft has taken such a long road to the moon.

Instead of sitting alone on a rocket that would put it on the flawless trajectory to the Moon, it blasted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket along with a communications satellite and an experimental aircraft.

The unmanned spacecraft would have taken Israel into an exclusive club of space-exploring nations.


How hard was it to land?

Signals from the spacecraft were lost at about 19:24 UTC (15:24 EDT), as Beresheet apparently crash-landed and stopped transmitting.

"We are full of admiration for the wonderful people who brought the spacecraft to the moon", Rivlin said.

The SpaceIL team attempted to restart the engine, and an initial report suggested that it was successful, but shortly after that announcement the spacecraft's communication link went dead. "We are the seventh country to achieve this, we will be the fourth if we persevere". "However, its latest message said: "#Beresheet's main engine fail!

All of the controls for this were uploaded and performed autonomously with mission control watching on.

The one-way trip was to have included an attempt to measure the lunar magnetic field, which would have helped to understand the moon's formation. "We're looking forward to future opportunities to explore the Moon together".

How significant was this mission?


Prime Minister Netanyahu said Israel will try again. Nasa followed this by getting the first humans to the Moon in 1969. In recent years, the race to the moon is again hotting up.

NASA's Deep Space Network allowed SpaceIL and the Israel Space Agency to communicate with Bersheet during the journey to the moon. It cost about £70m, a fraction of the cost of previous state-led missions.

And Beresheet is not alone in pursuing low-priced lunar exploration.

The SpaceIL spacecraft was originally designed to meet regulations set out by the now-defunct Google Lunar X Prize competition, an global contest that challenged the world's engineers to create and send the first private lander to the moon. It orbited the moon, by itself a major accomplishment.

But then the screens showed the engine misfiring, and the velocity surging as it headed toward the lunar surface.


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