Israel moon mission: Spacecraft loses contact and CRASHES on the moon

Israel moon mission: Spacecraft loses contact and CRASHES on the moon

Israel moon mission: Spacecraft loses contact and CRASHES on the moon

An Israeli spacecraft has crashed into the lunar surface, ending the first privately funded attempt to land on the moon.

Israel's spacecraft Beresheet has crashed into the moon at approximately 10:25 pm, April 11, 2019, 7 Nissan 5779. A failure of the engine would obviously be a big problem, preventing Beresheet from performing a controlled descent and resulting in the spacecraft plummeting to its demise.

Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator of NASA's science mission directorate, commented on the failure shortly after it occurred.

"We unfortunately have not managed to land successfully", said Opher Doron, the general manager of Israel Aerospace Industries' space division. Real-time telemetry provided by SpaceIL showed the spacecraft was descending too quickly for its low altitude, and though the team was eventually able to restart the engine, it was too late. Besides trying to win the X-Prize, the SpaceIL effort was also meant to inspire Israelis and others to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), to create an "Apollo effect" in the country. It's been reported, based on information from the livestream, that an Inertial Measurement Unit failed and the team was unable to reset the component due to a repeated loss of communications with the JPL network.

"We're going on this", Netanyahu said in Hebrew. "The engine was turned off. That's all we know".

He noted Israel was only the seventh country to place a spacecraft into orbit around the moon, and would have been the fourth country to make a soft landing on the lunar surface.

"We will try again", said Netanyahu.

Israeli scientists stand next to unmanned spacecraft, Beresheet.

President Reuven Rivlin watched the landing attempt from his official residence with a group of schoolchildren. The children, some wearing white spacesuits, appeared confused as the crash unfolded. "They will be the recipients of our first ever $1M Moonshot Award, in honor of their achievements and their milestone as the first privately-funded entity to orbit the Moon". If we succeeded every time, there would be no reward.

The failure was a disappointing ending to a 6.5 million kilometre lunar voyage, nearly unprecedented in length, that was created to conserve fuel and reduce price. It blasted off from Cape Canaveral in the USA on February 21 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and entered Earth's orbit about 34 minutes after launch.

The Beresheet space probe aims to touch down tomorrow, two months after launch, with a landing planned for Thursday, near the moon's Sea of Serenity.

The U.S. space agency NASA broadcast the landing attempt live on its dedicated TV channels, as well as online. It was built by Israeli nonprofit space venture SpaceIL and state-owned defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries with $100 million furnished nearly entirely by private donors.

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