Israeli spacecraft crashes on moon

14 April, 2019, 00:28 | Author: Ann Santiago
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In February, SpaceX launched the first private moon mission. The engine was stopped and the spacecraft crashed.

The exact cause of the malfunction has not been disclosed, but the probe appeared to have experienced an engine failure during the descent. The 600kg four-legged probe was designed and built by an Israeli nonprofit called SpaceIL and backed by about R1.4 billion in private funding.

It makes Israel the seventh country to orbit the moon, and the first privately funded mission to achieve a lunar orbit. Beresheet shared this photo of the moon as it began its descent.

The lander was able to restart its main engine, according to the statement, but "by that time, its velocity was too high to slow down and the landing could not be completed as planned". The landing attempt comes on the heels of the agency's own charge from the president to accelerate its plans to send astronauts to the surface of the Moon by 2024. Moments later, the mission was declared a failure.

"Space is hard, but worth the risks. And that caused an unfortunate chain of events we're not sure about", he said. Thank you for inspiring us @TeamSpaceIL. "We are on the moon, but not in the way that we wanted to".

"If at first you don't succeed, you try again", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said to the crowd gathered at the SpaceIL control center.

Apollo 15 Lunar Module Pilot James B. Irwin salutes while standing beside the fourth American flag planted on the surface of the moon, on July 30, 1971. "It can be cool", said SpaceIL Kfir Damari.

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

And project team members have met with more than 1 million Israeli schoolkids over the past eight years, taking the space-exploration message to the young masses.

SpaceIL's major donor, Morris Kahn, explained the name of the spacecraft. Indian Space Research Organisation, which nearly lost the race to Beresheet in December last after Chandrayaan-2 project got delayed due to technical problems, can now hope to enter the elite space club of three countries -Russia, US and China- as the launch of its Rs 800cr second moon mission is scheduled in May.

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The spacecraft aimed to perform a soft landing on the moon and would have made Israel the fourth country to do so - and by far the smallest.

Although the mission failed, it was relatively low-cost compared with previous lunar-landing attempts.

Today's landing was scheduled to occur autonomously, on a patch of the lunar near side known as Mare Serenitatis ("Sea of Serenity"). It's a dark lava-covered site of an ancient volcanic eruption, a source of magnetic and gravitational anomalies, and - in popular culture - the left eye of the "man in the moon".

The one-way trip was to have included an attempt to measure the lunar magnetic field, which would have helped to understand the moon's formation.

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

This did not come to pass, though.

Israel's Beresheet moon landing captured this self-portrait from 14 miles (22 kilometers) above the lunar surface. However, the main engine briefly failed during the maneuver. Mission control lost communications with the spacecraft when it was about 489 feet (149 meters) above the moon's surface. "I expect the next generation of Israelis to accomplish this journey for us".

Interestingly, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) has also expressed their willingness to contribute lunar landers and life support system during the upcoming mission to Lunar Orbiter Platform Gateway.

Kahn told Business Insider before Beresheet's launch that there was "no guarantee" the mission would succeed. "This will, of course, take a little bit longer, but that's a viable opportunity".

"This sense of urgency is a big part of what we all believe is going to be a critical component in driving success", said Space Florida's Dale Ketcham.

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