Science 2 min read

Israel's Beresheet Spacecraft Fails to Land on the Moon

Artist conception of the Beresheet spacecraft on the moon. | SpaceIL

Artist conception of the Beresheet spacecraft on the moon. | SpaceIL

Sighs of disappointment filled the command center of SpaceIL yesterday after its Beresheet spacecraft failed to land on the moon. It was the first attempt of Israel to touch the surface of our lunar neighbor, an ambitious goal that would have made the feat the first privately funded lunar landing in history.

Beresheet was scheduled to land on the moon yesterday after over a month of orbiting Earth in elliptical loops to meet the Moon’s orbit. However, around 20 minutes before the scheduled landing, Beresheet’s engine started firing to slow the lunar lander‘s descent.

Engineers and spectators, which include Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, watched in silence as dozens of screens in the command center showed the spacecraft’s movement gliding toward a free-fall.

Confusion registered in the faces of people in the room when ground control reported that they had lost contact with the lander during its final descent. A few minutes later, the mission was declared a failure.

Opher Doron, general manager of Israel Aerospace Industries who collaborated with SpaceIL, said:

“We had a failure in the spacecraft. We unfortunately have not managed to land successfully.”

Unfortunate Fate of the Beresheet Spacecraft

While the atmosphere was somber, people involved in the mission still felt celebratory about what they achieved. In a statement, SpaceIL’s president Morris Kahn said:

“Well we didn’t make it, but we definitely tried. And I think the achievement of getting to where we got is really tremendous. I think we can be proud.”

On the other hand, Prime Minister Netanyahu offered some words of encouragement:

“If at first you don’t succeed, you try again..”

Beresheet was launched last February aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. One of its missions was to establish a lunar library on the moon. It carried a disk containing 30 million pages of human history. SpaceIL has not made any official statement yet about their next plan in the future.

Read More: Israeli Spacecraft Plans To Create A Lunar Library

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Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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