Israeli spacecraft crashes onto moon during landing

Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong was in graver danger of being stranded on the moon than the public has been told according to the Orlando Sentinel

Almost two months after its launch with a SpaceX rocket, the first private mission ever to try landing on the Moon has ended in failure.

People watch the live broadcast of the SpaceIL spacecraft as it lost contact with Earth in Netanya, Israel. "An Israeli satellite will one day land on the moon".

Its journey took it on a series of ever-widening orbits around the Earth, before being captured by the Moon's gravity and moving into lunar orbit on 4 April.

Only the US, China, and Russian Federation have successfully landed on the Moon. However, none of the commercial companies successfully completed that by the competition deadline. Google ended the contest in 2018 with no winners, but the Israeli team chose to continue its efforts privately. NASA followed that up with a successful soft landing of Surveyor 1, but before the close of the year, Surveyor 2 failed to land softly and instead crashed near the Copernicus crater.

The Leros engine provided the power to get the spacecraft all the way to the Moon, but it also took Beresheet on its final descent. "If we succeeded every time, there would be no reward", Zurbuchen tweeted.

Netanyahu vows the country will try again.

"Yesterday we did a maneuver to lower the spacecraft, and what we're going to do today is lower it again", Damari said.

Only Russia, the United States and China have made the 384,000-kilometre journey and landed safely. It was built by Israeli non-profit space venture SpaceIL and state-owned defence contractor, Israel Aerospace Industries, with $100 million U.S. furnished nearly entirely by private donors. "I think the achievement of getting to where we got is really tremendous. Hopefully, when the landing is successful, we'll have so much joy in our veins that the challenges and problems we've had to overcome will look different". "That's all we know".

Yariv Bash, one of SpaceIL's founders, said the group would send up another probe within two or three years. The initial phases of the landing, including firing of the lander's main engine, appeared to go well, and the lander returned an image during its descent from an altitude of 22 kilometers.

But that could be about to change, as a washing-machine-sized, privately funded Israeli spacecraft approaches the moon.

The unmanned spacecraft Beresheet, which is Hebrew for "genesis", resembles a tall, oddly shaped table with round fuel tanks under the top.

"I want to turn to kids that might be watching us", Yonatan Winetraub said in a press conference after the crash. That sucks. However, engineering and science are hard.

"We got Israel to places we couldn't have imagined before". The spacecraft dropped from about 23,000 meters above the moon to about 15,000 meters. The $100 million Israeli lunar project was ultimately financed by philanthropists, including Morris Kahn, SpaceIL president and a founder of Amdocs Ltd, and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

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