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Main » The Beresheet Spacecraft Crashed. What Next? | Sivan Rahav Meir

The Beresheet Spacecraft Crashed. What Next? | Sivan Rahav Meir

17 April 2019

The $100 million mission was financed largely by Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn and a handful of other investors.

The project began as part of the Google Lunar XPrize, which in 2010 offered $30 million in awards to encourage scientists and entrepreneurs to come up with relatively low-priced moon missions.

A successful moon landing would have made Israel only the fourth country to manage the feat, and Harel Locker, chairman of Israel Aerospace Industries, said the eight-year project had helped create Israel's space industry. Beresheet 2.0 Just days after Beresheet crashed on the moon, the SpaceIL team's spirits are already up again.

An Israeli spacecraft crashed into the moon just moments before touchdown, failing in an ambitious attempt to make history Thursday as the first privately funded lunar landing.

Regardless of this setback, Israel can now boast that is the seventh country to make impact on the moon.

"In light of all the support I got from all over the world, and the wonderful messages of support and encouragement and excitement, I decided that we are going to establish Beresheet 2", Kahn said in the 48-second clip.

The former Soviet Union achieved the first soft landing with its spacecraft Luna 9 in 1966.

"It is by far the smallest, the cheapest spacecraft ever to get to the moon", said Doron.

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"I think that the achievement of getting to where we got is really tremendous, I think we can be proud", he said.

And though the contest deadline passed past year on March 31, 2018 and the $20 million prize went unclaimed, SpaceIL chose to push forth with the project with the aim of "showing the next generation that anything is possible - that even our small country can push the limits of imagination".

Both Nasa and Esa have also announced their intention to use commercial landers to deliver scientific payloads to the lunar surface.

Beresheet was not alone in pursuing low-priced lunar exploration.

Around 20 minutes before the scheduled landing, engine firings slowed Beresheet's descent.

US President Donald Trump's administration announced in March it was speeding up plans to send American astronauts back to the moon, bringing forward the target date from 2028 to 2024.

Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin expressed his regrets "for what nearly was" and tweeted: "Never lose hope-Your hard work, team work, and innovation is inspiring to all!" Because SpaceIL couldn't count on that, however, it opted for a more complex route.

The Beresheet Spacecraft Crashed. What Next? | Sivan Rahav Meir