Israeli spacecraft Beresheet crashes in attempt to land on moon

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NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said to meet that goal, the agency is asking the private space industry to design a critical element - a lander that will get astronauts safely to the surface of the moon.

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.

The $100 million moon landing project was a joint venture between SpaceIL and the state-owned IAI, financed mostly by philanthropists including Mr Kahn and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

But it was too late: Moments later, SpaceIL lost communication with the spacecraft, indicating it had likely crashed into the lunar surface.

Interestingly, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) has also expressed their willingness to contribute lunar landers and life support system during the upcoming mission to Lunar Orbiter Platform Gateway. Engineers managed to restart the engine, but by that point, Beresheet was moving too fast to avoid a crash. Had the landing been successful, it would have spent a few days on the moon's surface, study the moon's magnetic field and sent back photos and data to the earth. And I think for us this is the beginning.

SpaceIL broke the news on its livestream of the landing attempt, and it's unknown what caused Beresheet to malfunction when it was close to the moon, CNBC noted.

"We are resetting the spacecraft to try to enable the engine", an announcer said during a live broadcast on YouTube from mission control, later confirming the reset worked and the engine had come back online. Beresheet then lowered its lunar orbit via a series of burns, the last of which occurred yesterday (April 10).

The failure was a disappointing ending to a 6.5 million kilometer (4 million mile) lunar voyage, nearly unprecedented in length, that was created to conserve fuel and reduce price.

Israel may not have succeeded in a soft landing on the moon, but the tiny country is not giving up on its lunar ambitions just yet. "A journey which will forever change the way that we perceive space travel".

SpaceIL, a non-profit organization funded primarily philanthropically, initially planned to build a very small lander as a competitor in the Google Lunar X Prize.

"If at first you don't succeed, you try again", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said to the crowd gathered at the SpaceIL control center.

People watch a screen showing explanations of the landing of Israeli spacecraft, Beresheet's, at the Planetaya Planetarium in the Israeli city of Netanya, on April 11, 2019 before it crashed during the landing.