Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Sci-tech | By Laverne Osborne

Israel’s spacecraft crashes on moon moments before landing

Israel’s spacecraft crashes on moon moments before landing

Doron Opher, general manager of the space division of Israel Aerospace Industries, says the unmanned Beresheet lander still had "amazing success".

The spacecraft was launched about two months ago from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The final image arrived at SpaceIL's mission control room when Beresheet was 4.7 miles (7.5 kilometers) above the surface of the moon.

An Israeli spacecraft has failed in its attempt to make history as the first privately funded lunar mission. Beresheet beamed back one last photo of the lunar surface before it lost communication with Earth and slammed into the lunar soil.

The joint venture between SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries cost a total of $100 million and was an attempt to pave the way for low cost-space travel. "We will be the fourth country to land on the moon if we persist", Bibi said. By the time mission controllers rebooted the spacecraft to try and restart the engine, according to a live broadcast of the event, it was too late. But after grappling with a last-minute engine failure, the dishwasher-sized probe appears to have crashed into the rocky face of Earth's satellite. Of those nine companies, only one, Lockheed Martin, has extensive experience in developing lander missions, although a second company, Draper, has heritage dating back to the Apollo lunar landers. "I think we can be proud".

SpaceIL broke the news on its livestream of the landing attempt, and it's unknown what caused Beresheet to malfunction when it was close to the moon, CNBC noted. He said, "A technical problem in the engine could be the reason for the failed landing". Indian Space Research Organisation, which nearly lost the race to Beresheet in December last after Chandrayaan-2 project got delayed due to technical problems, can now hope to enter the elite space club of three countries -Russia, US and China- as the launch of its Rs 800cr second moon mission is scheduled in May.

The descent had been proceeding normally until the probe was around 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) above the lunar surface.

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

But Prime Minister Netanyahu, who was also present, corrected Mr. Kahn with, "No, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again".

SpaceIL, a non-profit organization funded primarily philanthropically, initially planned to build a very small lander as a competitor in the Google Lunar X Prize. The Israeli mission came amid renewed global interest in the moon, 50 years after American astronauts first walked on its surface.

Kahn told Business Insider before Beresheet's launch that there was "no guarantee" the mission would succeed.

Nevertheless, Israel is the seventh nation to reach the moon.

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