Israeli spacecraft landing on moon today

12 April, 2019, 06:00 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • 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

Israel is the fourth country to reach the moon, even if it wasn't in one piece.

The unmanned Israeli spacecraft Beresheet, a privately funded mission, failed upon its final descent to the moon Thursday, dashing hopes of joining the ranks of global superpowers in successfully landing on the lunar surface. But the little robot couldn't quite make it, crashing into the gray dirt around 3:25 p.m. EDT (1925 GMT).

As everyone saw during the livestream of the landing attempt, everything was going very, very well for the privately-funded Moon landing mission. "And I think the achievement of getting to where we got is really tremendous.

It's when we keep trying that we inspire others and achieve greatness", Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, tweeted after the landing attempt.

So far, only Russian Federation, the United States and China have made the 384,000-kilometre (239,000-mile) journey and landed on the Moon.

But Beresheet accomplished plenty during its short life, as we shall see.

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People watch the live broadcast of the SpaceIL spacecraft as it lost contact with Earth in Netanya, Israel, Thursday, April 11, 2019. Then, Beresheet began to orbit the Moon itself-making Israel the sixth nation, and seventh entity, to manage this feat, following in the footsteps of the United States, Russia, China, Japan, India, and the European Space Agency.

To prepare for landing, the spacecraft's engines fired, as it needed to slow from more than 3,730 miles per hour to a full stop to touch down on the moon's surface. An additional $5 million was available for various special accomplishments, bringing the contest's total purse to $30 million. The probe is the brainchild of three Israeli engineers running a nonprofit company SpaceIL partnered with Israel Aerospace Industries. 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. No other spacecraft has taken such a long road to the moon.

Beresheet would have been the first craft to land on the moon that was not the product of a government programme.

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. NASA was also broadcasting the event.

Kahn told Business Insider before Beresheet's launch that there was "no guarantee" the mission would succeed. "The problem was that when we started with the engineering, we couldn't find an engine that was small enough but had sufficient power to allow us to safely land on the moon", Damari said.

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