Sunday, April 14, 2019

Beresheet Spacecraft Fails to Land Safely on the Moon

Beresheet takes a selfie minutes before touching down on the moon. Credit: SpaceIL

Israel almost succeeded in rewriting lunar history on Thursday evening but fell short after spacecraft Beresheet (Hebrew for Genesis) failed to land safely on the Moon. Millions around the world tuned in live to watch the SpaceIL vessel, carrying an Israeli flag and a nano-Bible, descend to the Moon’s Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity) as the State of Israel sought to become only the fourth member of a prestigious club of nations to complete the formidable task of landing a spacecraft on the lunar surface.

SpaceIL lost contact with the spacecraft only minutes before it was due to complete the historic landing – a feat previously achieved only by the United States, Russia (then the USSR) and China – after an epic seven-week, 6.5 million km. journey since Beresheet, an ambitious project developed by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on board a SpaceX rocket on February 22.

For 48 days, Beresheet’s ground crew watched, monitored and executed every maneuver of the spacecraft from a control center at IAI’s Yehud headquarters. 

Once in position to descend, the landing maneuver – split into two phases of decreasing horizontal velocity and then vertical velocity – commenced but failed to land after contact was lost with the spacecraft's main engine, leading to a loss of altitude and subsequent crash landing.

According to initial assessments, one of the spacecraft's inertial measurement units (IMUs) failed during the final effort. A full investigation will now begin. 

“If at first you don’t succeed, you try and try again – and we’ll try again,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the control center.

“We reached the moon, but we wanted to land more safely. The attempt alone is a huge achievement. An Israeli satellite will one day land on the moon.”

On the wall of the control center, overlooking the scientists behind the project, a plaque read, “The people of Israel live. A small country, big dreams,” summing up the spirit of the endeavor. Unlike all other countries to reach the moon, SpaceIL’s achievement was funded almost entirely by private donors rather than the government.

“Where we got to was very tremendous and we can be very proud,” said SpaceIL chairman and lead donor Morris Kahn.



  1. I hope to hear more updates from you. Thank you so much for sharing the information.
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  2. Ese polvo lunar abrasivo siempre causa muchos daños.