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Forum:Satellites - Robotic Probes
Topic:SpaceIL: Israeli moon lander 'Beresheet'
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The Google Lunar X Prize Challenge

SpaceIL is the only Israeli team participating in the international Google Lunar X Prize competition: a modern race to the Moon. The competition offers a prize of $20 million to the first non-governmental team to accomplish three tasks:

  1. Make a soft landing (without crashing) of an unmanned spacecraft on the surface of the moon
  2. Travel 500 meters on, above, or below the surface of the moon
  3. Send high definition video and pictures back to Earth
Far Beyond the Competition

SpaceIL has a vision much bigger than the Google Lunar X Prize competition. It has taken upon itself a national mission: to use the inspiring story of the spacecraft to create an educational impact among the next generation in Israel and around the world.

Aside from landing on the Moon, SpaceIL's collective vision is to create a new "Apollo Effect" to inspire the next generation in Israel and around the world to think differently about science, engineering, technology and math. Despite its technological excellence, Israel faces a severe need for more scientists and engineers.

SpaceIL is committed to using the potential prize money to promote science and scientific education in Israel, to ensure that Israel will continue to live up to its reputation for excellence in these fields. But we're not waiting for the landing to create the impact. To date, SpaceIL has presented to over 50,000 kids in classrooms all over the world. We are developing curriculum, videos, and online content to reach many more.

Robert PearlmanGoogle Lunar X Prize release
Israeli Google Lunar XPRIZE Team Is First to Sign Launch Agreement For Private Mission to the Moon On SpaceX Falcon 9

SpaceIL Becomes First Google Lunar XPRIZE Team to Produce a Verified Launch Contract for a 2017 Mission, Using a SpaceX Falcon 9 Launcher via Spaceflight Industries

At a press conference held in Jerusalem today, alongside Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, and Bob Weiss, vice chairman and president of XPRIZE, SpaceIL announced a significant milestone in its race to the moon: securing a "ticket to the moon" on a SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher, with a mission scheduled for the second half of 2017. With this, SpaceIL becomes the first team to produce a verified launch contract in the US$30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE competition, and aims to accomplish not only the first Israeli mission to the moon, but also the world's first private lunar mission.

"We are proud to officially confirm receipt and verification of SpaceIL's launch contract, positioning them as the first and only Google Lunar XPRIZE team to demonstrate this important achievement, thus far," said Bob Weiss, vice chairman and president of XPRIZE. "The magnitude of this achievement cannot be overstated, representing an unprecedented and monumental commitment for a privately-funded organization, and kicks off an exciting phase of the competition in which the other 15 teams now have until the end of 2016 to produce their own verified launch contracts. It gives all of us at XPRIZE and Google the great pride to say, 'the new space race is on!'"

To win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a privately funded team must successfully place an unmanned spacecraft on the moon's surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high-definition video and images back to Earth, before the mission deadline of December 31, 2017.

"Only three countries have 'soft-landed' a rover on the surface of the moon: the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China. Now the notion of the small state of Israel being added to this exclusive list look more promising than ever," said SpaceIL CEO Eran Privman. "Last year we made significant strides toward landing on the moon, both in terms of project financing and in terms of the engineering design and now, we are thrilled to finally secure our launch agreement. This takes us one huge step closer to realize our vision of recreating an 'Apollo effect' in Israel: to inspire a new generation to pursue Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math (STEM)."

Signing the launch agreement was made possible due to the completion of an additional fundraising round led by the two major contributors of SpaceIL: Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Family Foundation and Morris Kahn's Kahn Foundation.

SpaceIL has purchased launch services from Spaceflight Industries; an American space company who recently purchased a SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher and will manifest SpaceIL's spacecraft as a co-lead spot, which will sit in a designated capsule inside the launcher, among a cluster of secondary payloads. Once the capsule separates from the launcher, it will automatically release the spacecraft, which will use advanced navigation sensors to guide it to the lunar surface, with engineers in a mission control room standing by to remotely send commands and corrections as needed.

"We're excited to work closely with the SpaceIL team to help them realize their mission of getting to the moon", said Curt Blake, president of Spaceflight's launch business. "It's very gratifying to play an integral part in SpaceIL's quest to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE."

Also today, SpaceIL unveiled a new and improved design of its spacecraft, completed by SpaceIL engineers with consultation from world-renowned Israeli industrial designer, Alex Padwa, regarding the spacecraft's exterior. The first physical components of the new model are already starting to arrive at the SpaceIL integration lab.

SpaceAholicSpaceIL said Tuesday (July 10) that it hopes to become the first non-governmental entity to land a spacecraft on the moon when it attempts to launch a module later this year.
SpaceIL and the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries plan to launch their unmanned craft in December, the team said at a press conference at an IAI facility outside Tel Aviv. If successful, Israel would become the fourth country to land a craft on the moon, after the U.S., the Soviet Union and China.

SpaceIL will ship the as yet unnamed module to the United States in November ahead of the launch. The 585 kilogram (1,289 pound) landing craft will piggyback on a SpaceX Falcon rocket to enter Earth's orbit, then slingshot around the planet several times to reach the moon. Upon landing, the craft will relay photographs and collect data about the moon's magnetism for research by Israel's Weizmann Institute.

The $95 million project, largely funded by South African-Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn and other donors, aims to land on the moon on Feb. 13. Kahn said it would be "a tremendous achievement."

Robert PearlmanNASA release
NASA, Israel Space Agency Sign Agreement for Commercial Lunar Cooperation

NASA has signed an agreement with the Israel Space Agency (ISA) to cooperatively utilize the Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL's commercial lunar mission, expected to land on the Moon in 2019.

NASA will contribute a laser retroreflector array to aid with ground tracking and Deep Space Network support to aid in mission communication. ISA and SpaceIL will share data with NASA from the SpaceIL lunar magnetometer installed aboard the spacecraft. The instrument, which was developed in collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Science, will measure the magnetic field on and above the landing site. The data will be made publicly available through NASA's Planetary Data System. In addition, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will attempt to take scientific measurements of the SpaceIL lander as it lands on the Moon.

The agreement was signed by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Avi Blasberger, Director of the Israel Space Agency. Dr. Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL, was also present.

"I'm thrilled to extend progress in commercial cooperation we've made in low-Earth orbit to the lunar environment with this new agreement with the Israel Space Agency and SpaceIL," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "Innovative partnerships like this are going to be essential as we go forward to the Moon and create new opportunities there."

SpaceIL competed in the Google Lunar X Prize, and continues to work toward landing the first Israeli spacecraft on the Moon. Together, NASA and SpaceIL will collaborate on analyzing the scientific data returned from the mission.

The agreement exemplifies the innovative approach that NASA and its international partners are taking to team up with commercial partners to advance important science and exploration objectives on and around the Moon.

Robert PearlmanSpaceIL release
World's First Privately Funded Lunar Mission to Launch

Israeli moon lander could herald new era of space exploration

Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) today (Feb. 18) announced that Israel's inaugural voyage to the moon – the world's first privately funded lunar mission – will begin on Feb. 21 at approximately 8:45 p.m. EST, when the lunar lander "Beresheet" ("In the Beginning") blasts off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Once Beresheet completes its lunar mission, Israel would join superpowers China, Russia and the United States in landing a spacecraft on the moon.

Above: Beresheet payload (at the top, in gold), the first Israeli lunar spacecraft. (SSL)

About 30 minutes after liftoff, the spacecraft will disengage from the SpaceX Falcon 9 at around 60,000 kilometers above Earth's surface, beginning, under its own power, a two-month voyage to the Moon's surface. Two minutes after it separates from the rocket, Beresheet will communicate for the first time with the mission's control center in Yehud, Israel.

Since the establishment of SpaceIL, the task of landing an Israeli spacecraft on the moon has become a national project with educational impact, funded mainly by Morris Kahn, a philanthropist and businessman who took the lead in completing the mission, serving as SpaceIL's president and financing $40 million. Additional donors include Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson — whose $24 million contribution enabled the project to continue — Lynn Schusterman, Steven and Nancy Grand, Sylvan Adams, Sami Sagol and others.

Robert PearlmancollectSPACE
In the beginning: Israeli 'Beresheet' lander launches for the moon

In the beginning, there was light from nine rocket engines.

The Beresheet lunar lander, built by the Israeli non-profit SpaceIL, lifted off for the moon on Thursday (Feb. 21) atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The lander's name, "Beresheet," translates to "in the beginning" in Hebrew.

Robert PearlmanSpaceIL release
World's First Privately Funded Lunar Spacecraft Launches Successfully Aboard Spacex Rocket

Israeli moon lander Beresheet launched from Cape Canaveral on Thursday at 8:45 p.m. ET

Mission control room in Israel established communication with the spacecraft at 9:23 p.m. ET

Beresheet's legs deployed, as planned, at 9:25 p.m. ET

Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) today announced that Israel's inaugural voyage to the moon – the world's first privately funded lunar mission – launched successfully on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 8:45 pm. ET from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9.

Once Beresheet ("in the beginning") completes its lunar mission, Israel would join superpowers China, Russia and the United States in landing a spacecraft on the moon.

The spacecraft successfully disengaged from the SpaceX Falcon 9 at around 60,000 kilometers above Earth's surface, beginning, under its own power, a two-month voyage to the Moon's surface. Beresheet communicated for the first time with the mission's control center in Yehud, Israel, at 9:23 p.m. ET, and the spacecraft's legs deployed two minutes later.

As of Friday morning, the spacecraft was 69,400 km above Earth, and is starting its way back to begin its first orbit around Earth.

In the meantime, the engineers at the SpaceIL and IAI control room have been conducting many in-orbit tests, and have identified high sensitivity to blinding by the sun's rays in the star trackers, though this issue is being checked.

On Sunday the spacecraft is expected to conduct its first maneuver around Earth.

Morris Kahn, President of SpaceIL: "The successful launch positions Israel on the map. History has been made. We look forward to an amazing seven-week journey that will mark yet another historic even. We cross our fingers for Beresheet. Thank you to the amazing teams of SpaceIL and IAI. Israel is now on the space map."

Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL: "We arrived at the launch with a fully tested spacecraft on its way for a highly challenging mission. I am proud of SpaceIL and IAI teams who made this accomplishment possible with professional work, perseverance and collaboration. In the next two months, Beresheet will continue its challenging journey until it lands on the moon."

Nimrod Sheffer, CEO, Israel Aerospace Industries: "This Friday morning (Israel time), SpaceIL and IAI, the partners in the Beresheet project, announced the successful launch of the spacecraft. Initial data was received in the control room in Yehud, the spacecraft's legs deployed as planned and Beresheet started in-orbit tests while cruising to the moon. After all sub-systems are tested, Beresheet will start its first maneuver and begin circling the Earth within nine hours."

Beresheet fans around the world can track the spacecraft's progress, here.

Robert PearlmanSpaceIL release
Beresheet Update: February 24

Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) today announced the following update:

Today at 1:29 p.m. Israel time (6:29 a.m. EST), Beresheet's first maneuver was completed successfully by SpaceIL and IAI's engineering team. The planned maneuver took into account the problems that were identified in the star trackers after launch.

This was the first time Beresheet's main engine was activated. The 30-second maneuver was made at a distance of 69,400 km from Earth and will increase the spacecrafts's closest point of approach to Earth to a distance of 600 km.

Beresheet continues its course according to plan and the next maneuver is scheduled for Monday night.

Robert PearlmanSpaceIL release
Beresheet Update: February 26

Last night at around 12 a.m. Israel time, another maneuver was planned for Beresheet as it passed near Earth, in an area without communication.

During the pre-maneuver phase the spacecraft computer reset unexpectedly, causing the maneuver to be automatically cancelled.

The engineering teams of SpaceIL and IAI are examining the data and analyzing the situation. At this time, the spacecraft's systems are working well, except for the known problem in the star tracker.

Communication between the control center and the spacecraft remains as planned, and Beresheet continues its previous orbit until the next maneuver. We will continue to provide updates regularly.

Robert PearlmanSpaceIL release
Beresheet Update: February 28

After completing examination of the computer resets and implementation of corrective measures, Beresheet conducted a successful maneuver today at 9:30 p.m. Israel time. The spacecraft is on its way to an elliptical orbit where the farthest point from Earth is at a distance of 131,000 km.

The maneuver was executed as planned and Beresheet's main engine was activated for four minutes. The next maneuver is planned in another week.

Robert PearlmanSoaceIL release
Israeli spacecraft Beresheet takes first selfie photo

SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) shared today that Beresheet's camera took a selfie photo for the first time, from a distance of 37,600 km (23363.5 miles) from Earth. The spacecraft transmitted the photo to the control room in Yehud, Israel, which is staffed 24/7 by SpaceIL and IAI engineers.

In the photo of Earth, taken during a slow spin of the spacecraft, Australia is clearly visible. Also seen is the plaque installed on the spacecraft, with the Israeli flag and the inscriptions "Am Yisrael Chai" and "Small Country, Big Dreams."

Robert PearlmanSpaceIL release
Israeli Spacecraft Beresheet Completes Another Successful Maneuver

Today (March 7) at 3:11 p.m. Israel time (8:11 a.m. Eastern) SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) engineers conducted another successful maneuver by Beresheet.

Beresheet is on its way to an elliptical orbit where the farthest point from Earth is at a distance 270,000 km (167,770 miles).

The maneuver was complicated, due to the need to deal with the constraints of the star trackers, but was carried out according to plan. During the maneuver, Beresheet's main engine was activated for 152 seconds. The next maneuver is planned in another two weeks.

Click here to listen to additional comments by Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL, and Opher Doron, General Manager of the Space Division at IAI.

Robert PearlmanSpaceIL release
Beresheet Update: March 19

Today at 8:30 a.m. ET (2:30 p.m. Israel Time) the SpaceIL and IAI engineering teams performed another successful maneuver for Beresheet.

During the maneuver, Beresheet's main engine was activated for 60 seconds.

The spacecraft's systems are functioning as expected, and it is communicating with the IAI and SpaceIL control room in Yehud.

Beresheet is now in an elliptical orbit where it is expected to leave Earth's orbit and join the moon's orbit at 405,000 km (251,655 miles) from Earth.

The engineering teams are preparing to perform a few small maneuvers to optimize the spacecraft's trajectory to the lunar capture, which is expected on April 4th.

Robert PearlmanSpaceIL release
Israeli Spacecraft Beresheet Sends New Images and Video Footage To Earth

New images and footage sent to Earth from Israeli Spacecraft Beresheet as it makes its way to the moon.

SpaceIL and IAI engineering teams, based in Israel, have downloaded new images and videos from the spacecraft. The photos and videos were taken by the spacecraft at different heights and times.

Sunrise from the spacecraft's point of view - in the video Earth can be seen hiding the sun from the spacecraft and then exiting the same shadow created by the Earth and the sun's exposure. This process creates a kind of sunrise image:

Selfie video from Beresheet:

A photo of Earth taken by one of Beresheet's perimeter cameras on 3/19 at 1:15 pm from a distance of 15,000 km. The photo shows South America.

Selfie image 131,000 km from Earth.

Israel from a distance of 131,000 km.

Selfie image from 265,000 km from Earth.

Robert PearlmanSpaceIL release
Beresheet Update: April 1

At 9:00 AM Israel Time today (2:00 AM ET), Beresheet successfully completed another maneuver to make final adjustments before leaving Earth's orbit and joining the moon's orbit. In the maneuver, SpaceIL and IAI engineering teams started and ran the spacecraft's engines for 72 seconds. The teams are assessing the results to determine if another alignment will be required before Beresheet enters the lunar orbit this Thursday.

When Beresheet enters the moon's orbit, it will perform lunar capture, a complex maneuver to enter the moon's gravity and begin orbiting the moon before its planned landing this month. SpaceIL and IAI are now preparing for the lunar capture by practicing several scenarios, simulations and in-depth tests in the hybrid lab. The lunar capture will be accessible for media coverage. Additional details to follow.

Also yesterday at noon Israel time, Beresheet passed Earth, at about 1,700 kilometers (1,056 miles) for the last time. The engineering teams succeeded in taking a rare photo of Earth from a distance of about 16,000 kilometers (9,941 miles).

Robert PearlmanSpaceIL release
Lunar Capture: Beresheet's critical maneuver

Lunar Capture maneuver will determine if an Israeli spacecraft orbits the moon

The maneuver will be performed tomorrow April 4, at 5:15 p.m. Israel time (10:15 a.m. ET)

The engineering teams of SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) tomorrow will perform the most critical maneuver yet in Beresheet's journey to the moon. Lunar orbit insertion, or "Lunar Capture," as the maneuver is called, allows the spacecraft to enter the moon's gravity and begin orbiting prior to landing.

So far, Beresheet has been circling Earth in elliptical orbits and has performed several maneuvers in order to send it higher and further away. Earlier this week, Beresheet passed its closest point to Earth for the last time, at 1,700 kilometers (1,056 miles), and continued to its meeting point with the moon at a range of 400,000 kilometers (248,548 miles).

Unlike maneuvers Beresheet has performed so far, when its engines were operated to accelerate the craft, the current engine operation is meant to slow the spacecraft's velocity, so it is captured by lunar gravity. The braking will reduce Beresheet's velocity relative to the moon from 8,500 km/h (5,281 mph) to 7,500 km/h (4,660 mph).

If the slowdown does not take place as planned, the spacecraft risks leaving Earth's gravity while missing the moon's gravity and will enter a different and undesirable orbit in the solar system. This would bring the mission to an end.

A successful maneuver will position the spacecraft on an elliptical orbit around the moon, in which the nearest point (perilune) is 500 km (310 miles) away from the moon, while the farthest one (apolune) is 10,000 km (6,213 miles) away. In the week following the capture, the SpaceIl and IAI teams will perform several maneuvers to reduce the orbits around the moon from an elliptical to a round orbit 200 km (124 miles) above the moon. Unlike the long Earth orbits, the first lunar orbits will last 14 hours. As Beresheet approaches landing, each moon orbit will last only two hours. These maneuvers are meant to lower the spacecraft's altitude and reach the optimal point for autonomous landing in the moon's Sea of Serenity the evening of April 11.

Robert PearlmanSpaceIL release
Beresheet's Critical Lunar Orbit Capture Took Place Successfully

SpaceIL's engineering team and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) this evening (April 4) at 5:17 p.m. Israel team conducted the most critical manveuver to date of Beresheet's journey to the moon – the Lunar Capture. This maneuver enabled the spacecraft to be captured by the moon's gravity and begin orbiting the moon – and with the moon, orbiting the Earth.

Today's maneuver moved the spacecraft into an elliptical orbit around the moon, with the closest point (perilune) 500 km to the moon, with the farthest point (apolune) 10,000 km from the moon. Unlike the longer orbits around the Earth, Beresheet's first lunar orbit will last 14 hours. Before it lands on the moon, each orbit thereafter will take only two hours. At the beginning of this week, Beresheet reached, for the last time, the closest point to Earth in its last Earth orbit, only 1,700 km, and continued on course to the point where it could join the lunar orbit, 400,000 km from Earth.

At 5:18 p.m. Israel time the spacecraft's engine activated for six minutes, and reduced its speed by 1,000 km/hour, from 8,500 km/hour to 7,500 km/hour, relative to the moon's velocity. The maneuver was conducted with full communication between Beresheet's control room in Israel and the spacecraft, and signals in real time match the correct course. In the coming week, with expected intense engineering activities, many more maneuvers will take Beresheet from an elliptical to a round orbit, at a height of 200 km from the moon. The maneuvers will aim to reduce the spacecraft's distance from the moon and reach the optimal point to conduct an autonomic landing in the Sea of Serenity in the evening Israel time, April 11.

SpaceIL Chairman, Morris Kahn: "The lunar capture is an historic event in and of itself – but it also joins Israel in a seven-nation club that has entered the moon's orbit. A week from today we'll make more history by landing on the moon, joining three super powers who have done so. Today I am proud to be an Israeli."

SpaceIL CEO, Ido Anteby: "After six weeks in space, we have succeeded in overcoming another critical stage by entering the moon's gravity. This is another significant achievement our engineering team achieved while demonstrating determination and creativity in finding solutions to unexpected challenges. We still have a long way until the lunar landing, but I'm convinced our team will complete the mission to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon, making us all proud."

IAI CEO, Nimrod Sheffer: "After a challenging journey, we made tonight another Israeli record and became the seventh nation to orbit the moon. Even before Beresheet was launched, it already was a national success story that shows our groundbreaking technological capabilities. Tonight, we again reach new heights. In the coming week, our talented engineering team will work 24/7 to bring us to an historic event on April 11. Good luck Beresheet."

Robert PearlmanSpaceIL release
First Beresheet Pictures of the Far Side of the Moon

Beresheet - Israel’s historic spacecraft, which entered lunar orbit yesterday (April 4) on its journey to the moon - is on an “excellent” track, according to overnight data from the SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) engineering teams at their control room in Yehud, Israel.

During its lunar orbit, Beresheet will be at its nearest point to the moon (perilune) at 470 km (292 miles) from the lunar surface, and the farthest from the moon (apolune) at 10,400 km (6,462 miles).

Beresheet is scheduled to land on the moon at about 11 p.m. Israel time on April 11 - though a more definite time will be announced in the next few days. During the coming week, SpaceIL and IAI will conduct a series of intense maneuvers with the spacecraft in preparation for the landing.

Yesterday, during the critical Lunar Capture maneuver, when the spacecraft entered the moon’s orbit from the Earth’s orbit, Beresheet provided dramatic pictures of the moon while activating its engines.

Above: A picture taken by Beresheet - the far side of the moon during the maneuver at a height of 470 km from the moon.

Above: A picture of the far side of the moon with Earth in the background — also at 470 km from the moon.

Robert PearlmanSpaceIL release
Beresheet Update: April 8

At 7:48 a.m. Israel time today, the engineering team of SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries successfully carried out another maneuver of Israel's historic lunar spacecraft, Beresheet, in its orbit around the moon. During the maneuver, Beresheet's engines operated for about 36 seconds, burning about six kilograms (13.2 pounds) of fuel.

The maneuver also took Beresheet closer to the moon's surface, from 750 kilometers (466 miles), called the apolune — the farthest point from the moon — to 210 kilometers (130 miles), or perilune, the orbital point closest to the moon.

Beresheet is now in an elliptical orbit at an altitude of between 211 kilometers (131 miles) to 467 kilometers (290 miles) around the moon. Over the weekend, Beresheet took more photos of the far side of the moon from 550 kilometers (341 miles) and from 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) from the moon.

Above: The moon from a distance of 550 kilometers (341 miles).

Robert PearlmanSpaceIL release
Tonight Israel is set to land on the moon

After years of planning and preparations, Israel is finally set to land on the moon.

SpaceIL and IAI have been working all night on last calculations after the successful maneuver yesterday evening.

Beresheet’s planned landing time: 10:25 pm Israel time (3:25 pm ET).

The landing process will start at 10:05 pm Israel time (3:05 pm ET).

The live broadcast will begin at 9:45 pm Israel time (2:45 pm ET).

Join us tonight for the historical event. Good luck Beresheet.

Robert PearlmancollectSPACE
Israeli Beresheet probe crashes into moon during landing attempt

An Israeli lunar lander came close, but ultimately failed in its bid to become the the first privately-developed spacecraft to touch down on the moon.

The robotic Beresheet probe, built by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), aimed at becoming the first Israeli spacecraft, and the first privately-funded mission, to land softly on the moon. But the small four-legged lander developed problems on its approach and crashed into the lunar surface at around 3:23 p.m. EDT (1923 GMT) on Thursday (April 11).

Robert PearlmanSpaceIL release
Beresheet Update for April 12

Preliminary data supplied by the engineering teams of SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) suggests a technical glitch in one of Beresheet's components triggered the chain of events yesterday that caused the main engine of the spacecraft to malfunction. Without the main engine working properly, it was impossible to stop Beresheet's velocity. Beresheet overcame the issue by restarting the engine. However, by that time, its velocity was too high to slow down and the landing could not be completed as planned.

Preliminary technical information collected by the teams shows that the first technical issue occurred at 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) above the moon. At 150 meters (492 feet) from the ground, when the connection with the spacecraft was lost completely, Beresheet was moving vertically at 500 km/h (310.7 miles) to the inevitable collision with the lunar surface. Comprehensive tests will be held next week to gain a better understanding of the events.

"IAI, together with SpaceIL, built the first Israeli spacecraft, Beresheet, which succeeded in traveling 400,000 kilometers (248,548.5 miles) from Israel until it touched the moon," said Harel Locker, Chairman of IAI. "This is a tremendous technological achievement for the State of Israel, which is now among only seven superpowers who have reached this close to the moon. This project lasted eight years and contributed significantly to the Israeli space industry, which today became one of the leading space industries in the world. Space travel is infinite, exciting, and inspirational. IAI is the core of the Israeli national knowledge when it comes to space technology, and it will continue to lead Israel to more technological achievements in this field. IAI engineers and staff are working 24/7 on developing new technology for Israel and its security. For them, the sky is not the limit, it's just the beginning."

Robert PearlmanSpaceIL release
Beresheet Update for April 17

According to preliminary investigation of the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet's landing maneuver, it appears that a manual command was entered into the spacecraft's computer. This led to a chain reaction in the spacecraft, during which the main engine switched off, which prevented it from activating further.

SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) teams continue to investigate further, in order to understand the full picture of what occurred during the mission. In the coming weeks, final results of the investigation will be released.

SpaceIL President Mr. Morris Kahn said: "I am proud of SpaceIL's team of engineers for their wonderful work and dedication, and such cases are an integral part of such a complex and pioneering project. What is important now is to learn the best possible lessons from our mistakes and bravely continue forward. That's the message we'd like to convey to the people in Israel and the entire Jewish world. This is the spirit of the Beresheet project."

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