Israel's Beresheet Spacecraft Fails to Land on Moon's Surface

Israel's Beresheet Spacecraft Fails to Land on Moon's Surface

The first private attempt to land a spacecraft on the Moon came to a sad end today, after the Israel-based non-profit SpaceIL declared that the Beresheet spacecraft had failed to land successfully.

The $100 million moon landing project was a joint venture between SpaceIL and the state-owned IAI, financed mostly by philanthropists including Mr Kahn and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

During its final approach, Beresheet's main engine faltered. "By the time the engine was restarted its velocity was too high to land properly".

Israel may not have succeeded in a soft landing on the moon, but the tiny country is not giving up on its lunar ambitions just yet. "At 150 meters when the connection with #Beresheet was lost, it was moving at 500 km/h, making a collision inevitable".

This early investigation does suggest that the main engine, which had been built in Britain, was not the primary source of the failure. The craft also took some images of the moon from the orbit and just before the crash. More tests are slated for next week.

So the list of moon-landing nations remains at three, all of them superpowers - the Soviet Union, the United States and China. It traveled a total of 4 million miles to the moon, soaring around the Earth before entering orbit around the moon.

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An anniversary of the first lunar landing comes with apt timing as the US begins to shift back towards human space travel, particularly returning astronauts to the moon which hasn't been done since 1972.

Members of the Israel spacecraft, Beresheet, are seen in the control room in Yahud, Israel, on April 11, 2019. The price was sent from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX rocket. This baby here is going to get to the surface of the moon. "We reached the moon, but we want to land more comfortably, and that is for the next time".

"If at first you don't succeed, try try again", said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was on hand for what organisers had hoped to be a celebration. As it was descending, Beresheet - which means "in the beginning" in Hebrew - lost its connection with the command center in Israel. But the competition's organizer, The XPrize foundation, has said it will still award the $1 million "Moonshot Award" to the team despite the failed landing.

"The legacy SpaceIL will have on the future of the space industry is significant".

The attempted moon landing began as a dream by three Israeli engineers eight and a half years ago. The team behind the project described it as a great achievement, admitting "we didn't make it, but we definitely tried".

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