Israeli spacecraft Beresheet crashes on the Moon after engine and communication failures

18 April, 2019, 04:29 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Israel Airports Authority lists moon landing on its timetable Ben Gurion Airport website on April 1

"An Israeli spacecraft will land on the moon, in two years, three years".

Now, a press release from SpaceIL confirmed those reports, stating that a technical glitch in one of Beresheet's components caused the spacecraft's main engine to malfunction.

Spacecrafts crash more on other planets than they do on the moon, but the moon has had seen failed missions previously, said American University professor Howard McCurdy, who has written several books about space.

An image taken by Israel spacecraft, Beresheet, upon its landing on the moon, obtained by Reuters from Space IL on April 11, 2019. Once they got it back online, communications with Beresheet were gone, indicating a likely crash landing. "I expect Israel's next generation to complete the mission for us".

"If at first you don't succeed, try again", Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said from SpaceIL's control room in Yehud, in central Israel, on Thursday (Friday AEST).

If it had landed successfully, Israel would have become the fourth nation to soft land on the moon following Russian Federation, the US and China. It was the first privately funded mission to the moon.

"We are disappointed", he said, adding that to land a spacecraft on the moon requires huge resources.

The Israeli spacecraft Beresheet reached the moon on Thursday but its planned controlled, or "soft", landing was unsuccessful, the support team said.

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Only three countries have ever landed a spacecraft on the moon: America, Russia and China.

"There is a suspicion that we did not land on the moon in the best fashion".

Beresheet had been in orbit around the moon for over 1 million km before maneuvering itself into just the right position to land on the Sea of Serenity, a flat area on the lunar surface. "We'll try again, and next time we'll just try it more gently" said Netanyahu.

Israeli NGO SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the two main partners, describe the project as the "world's first spacecraft built in a non-governmental mission", with philanthropist Morris Kahn putting up $40 million of the $100 million budget. "We made it all the way to the moon, which is a great accomplishment".

The unmanned vessel departed Earth's atmosphere on February 21, hitching a ride on a Falcon 9 commercial rocket belonging to Elon Musk's SpaceX from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

An Israeli flag was emblazoned on the spacecraft, befitting a probe that's as much about Israeli pride as it is about lunar science or commercial space exploration.

The Moonshot Award was established last month to recognize teams demonstrating the achievement of a "moonshot" technological feat outside the parameters or time-frame of an XPRIZE competition, including the $30m.

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