Israel Wishes India Good Luck After its Spacecraft Crash Lands on Moon

Morris Kahn speaks on Channel 12

Morris Kahn speaks on Channel 12

It had been hoped that the small robotic spacecraft, built by the nonprofit SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, would match a feat that has been achieved only by U.S., Russian Federation and China.

Before the big lunar landing attempt, the Beresheet spacecraft managed to snap fantastic pictures of the far side of the moon and it also slipped into lunar orbit on April 4, making Israel the seventh nation to successfully orbit the moon.

Backers of SpaceIL, the private venture behind the Beresheet craft, said this week that they would fund Beresheet 2.

As BBC reports, a technical malfunction in one component of the Beresheet spacecraft caused a chain of events that resulted in the main engine switching off.

The mishap occurred in front of a packed audience that included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and was broadcast live on national television.

Highlighting the challenge that the lunar landing and space exploration presents, Andreas Schepers, spokesman at PTScientists, the Berlin-based commercial company also aiming for a commercial lunar landing said: "Space is hard and setback can be part of the business".

The spacecraft, launched by SpaceX from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on 22 February 2019, successfully moved into lunar orbit on April 4.

Its speed has reached 10 kilometres per second, (36,000 kilometres per hour).

The Beresheet spacecraft smashed into the moon's surface on Thursday after a critical engine failure.

But it was the low-price tag - and the fact that the mission was not funded by a major space agency - that was significant.

The craft also carries a "time capsule" loaded with digital files containing a Bible, children's drawings, Israeli songs, memories of a Holocaust survivor and the blue-and-white Israeli flag.

A spacecraft has failed in its attempt to generate history as the very first lunar assignment that was privately funded.

And though the contest deadline passed a year ago on March 31, 2018 and the $20 million prize went unclaimed, SpaceIL chose to push forth with the project with the aim of "showing the next generation that anything is possible - that even our small country can push the limits of imagination".

The project includes other partners, among them the Swedish Space Corporation, whose ground satellite station network provided support.

Beresheet carried a small laser retroreflector from NASA meant to measure magnetic fields and provide insight on the moon's iron core. After the crash, Diamandis said it would give SpaceIL the bonus nonetheless. "We're looking forward to future opportunities to explore the moon together", Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the NASA Science Mission Directorate said on Twitter.

"And here we are eight years later with a project with a budget of nearly $100 million". But at 150 meters (492 feet) from the surface, all connection between SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries command center in the central Israeli city of Yehud and the spacecraft was lost completely as it moved vertically at 500 km/h (310.7 miles) and inevitably crashed.

Only government space agencies from the former Soviet Union, the United States and China have achieved soft lunar landings.

The Beresheet 2 project already has $1 million coming its way, courtesy of the Lunar XPRIZE Foundation.

As per the sources, the lunar lander was carrying a backup copy of Wikipedia.

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