Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft reaches moon, but landing unsuccessful

Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft reaches moon, but landing unsuccessful

Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft reaches moon, but landing unsuccessful

SpaceIL initially formed as a Google Lunar X Prize team, seeking the $20 million grand prize the X Prize Foundation offered to the first privately developed spacecraft to land on the surface, travel at least 500 meters and return images and video. A problem with the spacecraft's engine was reported at 3:24 p.m. ET and communication with Beresheet was lost.

People in the Israeli city of Netanya watching images taken by the camera of the Israel Beresheet spacecraft of the moon surface before it crashed.

Sharing the ride into space significantly reduced its launch costs - but it meant the spacecraft had to take a much more convoluted route.

Furthermore, it will make Israel the fourth nation-and the smallest by quite a distance-to land a spacecraft on the moon, along with the United States, China and Russian Federation (when it was part of the Soviet Union).

Israel, however, is one of just seven countries to have orbited the Moon, thanks to the Beresheet mission.

"The spacecraft Beresheet did not successfully complete its landing on the moon", an onscreen message said. Only the United States, Russia (U.S.S.R.) and China have accomplished the feat, and the SpaceIL mission will also be the first privately-funded Moon landing in history.

"If at first you don't succeed, try try again", said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was on hand for what organizers had hoped to be a celebration. It came at the end of a long, looping journey, a month and a half after the dishwasher-sized lander was sent into space by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a pre-launch logistical assist from Seattle-based Spaceflight.

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The spacecraft was created to photograph its landing site and snap a selfie.

Beresheet is the smallest spacecraft ever to be sent to the moon.

Only the US, China, and Russian Federation have successfully landed on the Moon.

The final moon accident before Beresheet came in 1971, when Luna 18 crashed during an attempt to land on some lunar mountains near the edge of Mare Fecunditatis.

If the landing is successful, the mission is expected to last just a couple of days before the spacecraft succumbs to the sun's rays. "And that caused an unfortunate chain of events we're not sure about", Mr Doron said. The craft also toted a small laser retroreflector array built by NASA, a technology demonstration that could increase the precision of future touchdowns on the moon and other celestial bodies.

Beresheet is equipped with six 8 megapixel high resolution cameras, and five of them are arranged so that they can create a panorama of the lunar surface while the sixth camera is pointed at the aforementioned Israeli flag plaque. "I think we can be proud".

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