Israel's Beresheet Spacecraft Fails In Moon Landing Attempt

Israel's Beresheet Spacecraft Fails In Moon Landing Attempt

Israel's Beresheet Spacecraft Fails In Moon Landing Attempt

Beresheet's rocket engine executed a series of maneuvers to stretch out its elliptical orbit around Earth, and last week the spacecraft made the transition from Earth orbit to lunar orbit.

Get our weekly newsletter directly in your inbox! The landing is set to begin on Thursday, with touchdown expected around 3:25 p.m. ET, the Israeli space team said. "It was an XPrize competition to put a spacecraft on the Moon and win a US$20 million prize", Kahn told Business Insider before to Beresheet's launch.

But, he added, "While it failed to land successfully, overall it was a path-breaking and innovative project".

A screenshot from Instagram showing posts with the "Israel to the moon" hashtag.

SpaceIL's lander would have touched down within the Mare Serenitatis on the northern hemisphere of the moon.

The craft will be armed with instruments to measure the moon's magnetism, says Oded Aharonson who is heading the mission's science team.

With the flight of Beresheet, Israel became the seventh nation to orbit the moon, and technically the fourth to land on its surface, though not in the way they had hoped for.

But it was too late: Moments later, SpaceIL lost communication with the spacecraft, indicating it had likely crashed into the lunar surface.

During its final approach, Beresheet's main engine faltered. A direct route from the Earth to the moon covers roughly 386,000 km. SpaceIL's Beresheet lander lost comms with the control team and crashed down earlier today. Among the documents in this digital time capsule are a complete archive of Wikipedia, drawings of space from Israeli children, and the memoirs of a Holocaust survivor.

XPRIZE officials attended the landing attempt at mission control and said the nonprofit will still receive $1 million to help them to continue their work and pursue another mission.

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

Beresheet, which takes its name from the Hebrew phrase for "In the Beginning", was funded with almost $100 million in private money, led by Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn's $40 million contribution.

Its cost of $100m is a fraction of what would normally be spent on a venture like this. "It's been an unbelievable journey, I hope we get a chance for another one". We dare to dream. If we succeeded every time, there would be no reward. Although the lander did not achieve its core mission of a soft moon landing, it was still marked with a number of important firsts.

The story of Beresheet, which means "genesis" or "in the beginning" in Hebrew, began in 2011, when SpaceIL was founded with the objective of taking Israel to the moon. The spacecraft failed in its attempt to make history as the first privately funded lunar mission.

But the Beresheet mission, which launched on 22 February from Cape Canaveral in Florida, spent weeks reaching its destination.

The competition ended a year ago without a victor, but SpaceIL and partner Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the country's biggest aerospace and defense company, continued working on the 5-foot-tall (1.5 meters) Beresheet. The man responded that it might take two or three years.

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