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Israel's unmanned probe crashes on the Moon


Posted on Friday, 12 April, 2019 | Comment icon 19 comments

An artist's impression of what the landing *should* have looked like. Image Credit: SpaceIL
The world's first attempt to land a privately-funded lander on the lunar surface has sadly ended in failure.
At around the size of a washing machine and weighing in at 585kg, the robotic lander, which is called Beresheet (the Hebrew word for Genesis), launched atop a SpaceX rocket from Florida in February.

The project, which cost around $90 million, was privately funded by a number of backers including South African-born Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn and philanthropist Miriam Adelson.

Sadly however, as it descended towards the lunar surface on Thursday, a problem with one of its inertial measurement units resulted in a loss of control, sending it plummeting to its doom.

"We had a failure of the spacecraft," said Opher Doron of Israel Aerospace Industries. "We unfortunately have not managed to land successfully."

Even so, the mission itself has been hailed as a major step forward for the private space sector and there are already plans to attempt another landing in a couple of years' time.

"If at first you don't succeed, you try again," said Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Source: Spaceflight Now | Comments (19)

Tags: Moon, Israel

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by bison on 4 April, 2019, 3:10
Israel's Beresheet Lunar lander is set to go into an elliptical orbit of the Moon tomorrow at 14:15 GMT, provided it's engine firing goes as planned.  Failing that, the probe could escape the Moon's gravity and go into solar orbit. So far only Russia, the United States and China have managed to soft-land space probes on the Lunar surface.   
Comment icon #11 Posted by bison on 4 April, 2019, 16:23
The Beresheet lander appears to have executed the the rocketry maneuver intended to place it in Lunar orbit. It will take some hours to confirm that the probe is actually in orbit of the Moon, as expected. 
Comment icon #12 Posted by bison on 4 April, 2019, 22:25
It's being reported that Israel's Beresheet Lunar lander has successfully entered an elliptical orbit of the Moon. It will make a series of rocket burns to circularize its orbit over the next week, and then one final burn for landing on the 11th, in the Sea of Serenity. Beresheet will operate on the Moon for only a few days. If all goes well, it will be the first spacecraft made and financed by a private firm to land on the Moon. 
Comment icon #13 Posted by marsman on 6 April, 2019, 19:09
  Its there! Israel's Beresheet lander finally concluded a long, spiraling journey out of Earth's orbit and into the moon's, and the SpaceIL team celebrated by releasing stunning photographs the spacecraft captured of the far side of the moon. The spacecraft successfully entered lunar orbit yesterday (April 4) in preparation for landing on April 11. The occasion makes Israel the seventh nation to build a spacecraft that has successfully orbited the moon. SpaceIL didn't provide many details about the photographs themselves, but did note that the image of the lunar surface was taken from about 2... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by bison on 11 April, 2019, 1:16
Israel's Beresheet lander will fire its rockets for the last time tomorrow, and reach the surface of the Moon between 19 and 20 hours GMT. Since it's not very well protected from temperature extremes, Bereshet is expected to last for just a few days. After that, the heat of the Sun will presumably render it inoperable.  The Moon is currently waxing. Sunlight will reach the landing site, in the Sea of Serenity, tomorrow. From that point onward the temperature will continue to rise , until it reaches about 127 degrees Celsius (260 degrees F.). 
Comment icon #15 Posted by bison on 11 April, 2019, 20:17
Israel's Beresheet Lunar lander lost contact with ground control very shortly before it was to land on the Moon. It apparently crashed into the Lunar surface at about 19:25 GMT. Beresheet had been working well until this fatal malfunction. An article with further details, including a brief history of the mission, is linked below: https://www.space.com/israeli-beresheet-moon-landing-attempt-fails.html
Comment icon #16 Posted by fred_mc on 12 April, 2019, 10:50
Sad that it crashed :-( . The lander got quite some attention here in Sweden since the Esrange space base in northern Sweden was used to send commands to the lander.
Comment icon #17 Posted by bison on 12 April, 2019, 14:45
They're saying now that the retro-rockets, needed to slow Beresheet down for landing, fired only intermittently. This allowed the lander to descend too rapidly for it to survive the impact with the surface.  
Comment icon #18 Posted by NCC1701 on 13 April, 2019, 17:08
It all went wrong after sending the selfie. Why on earth are they going to take a selfie with a multimillion spacecraft that is in a very critical phase of operation.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 16 April, 2019, 20:40
How does the operation of the camera in any way affect the landing? What we have here is a classic case of assuming that correlation equals causation. This is a formal logical fallacy known as "cum hoc ergo propter hoc" Just because two events occur at the same time does not mean that one caused the other. In fact an on-board sensor malfunctioned, commanding a premature shut down of the engine... nothing to do with selfies. Taking images during descent has become fairly common practice. Such images help pin-point the exact location of the touch down. This is particularly useful in the case of ... [More]


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