Israelis Suffer Spacecraft Crash on the Moon!

18 Avril, 2019, 04:27 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Ben Gurion Airport timetable includes the Beresheet landing on the moon circled in yellow

"We had a failure in the spacecraft, we unfortunately have not managed to land successfully", Opher Doron, the general manager of IAI said during a live broadcast from mission control. The trouble began when the lander was just 8.7 miles above the lunar surface, and was caused by a vague "technical glitch in one of Beresheet's components". But the world's first private moon mission ended in failure yesterday when the dishwasher-sized robot smacked down into the lunar surface. "I feel excited and honored to be a part of this endeavor", he said.

Beresheet on display before its launch, December 17, 2018.

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.

The SpaceIL team were unperturbed by the loss of the mission, and counted the failed landing as an achievement in itself. An issue with the spacecraft's engine was suspected, but the lander's signal was lost shortly after the engine came back online so answers were hard to come by.

The U.S. Apollo program tallied six manned missions to the moon - the only ones yet achieved - between 1969 and 1972, and the United States and Soviets conducted a total of about a dozen more robotic landings between them.

Launched on February 22 from Cape Canaveral in Florida, Beresheet journeyed through a series of ever-widening orbits around the earth, before being captured by the moon's gravity and moving into lunar orbit on April 4.

The NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) might be able to take a photo of the crash site.

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The mission will be short-lived. Our priority is Chandrayaan-2 should land successfully on the moon in its very first attempt.

SpaceIL, in partnership with government-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, built Beresheet for only about US$100 million.

The project began as part of the Google Lunar XPrize, which in 2010 offered $30 million in awards to encourage scientists and entrepreneurs to come up with relatively low-priced moon missions. And I think for us this is the beginning.

SpaceIL was founded in 2011 in an attempt to win Google's Lunar XPRIZE.

However, following the crash landing, XPRIZE announced it will still award the $1 million prize.

Kahn, a South African-born Israeli billionaire, said that he hoped the initiative would contribute significantly to future space exploration. "We are optimistic about seeing this first domino fall, setting off a chain reaction of increasingly affordable and repeatable commercial missions to the Moon and beyond".

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