Israel would have become the fourth country to land on the Moon, with SpaceIL claiming a spot for itself in the history books. Eastern after spending the past week in orbit. At 5 meters from the surface, and at 0 km per hour, the spacecraft's engine will shut down and it will freefall onto the moon's surface.
The landing process suffered some glitches when the main engine cut out and mission control lost communication.
"We were initially aiming for a much smaller spacecraft based on satellite technology.
Israel's private spacecraft Beresheet crashed into the Moon on Thursday after being hit with problems during descent, denying the Jewish state a place in the elite club of nations that mastered a lunar landing.
"We didn't make it, but we definitely tried", project originator and major backer Morris Kahn said in a live videocast from mission control near Tel Aviv. "We're extraordinarily proud they made it this far". The spacecraft subsequently performed a series of maneuvers to raise the apogee of its orbit to more than 400,000 kilometers.
Beresheet's last photo before crashing into the moon.
SpaceIL announced its intention to land a privately developed and funded spacecraft on the Moon in 2011, during an global space conference in Israel. That competition started in 2007 and, at one point, had more than two dozen competitors around the world.
SpaceIL, the non-profit behind Israel's lunar landing project, and the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will live stream the landing beginning at 9:45 pm Israel time (2:45 pm EST) on its Facebook page and on YouTube. The journey began with Google's Lunar XPrize competition, and SpaceIL continued its work even after the competition ended without a victor.
However, following the crash landing today, XPRIZE announced it will still award the $1 million prize.
Doron said the craft descended too fast and broke into pieces that scattered around the planned landing site. The boosters will now be refurbished and reused for another mission.
"We're going to study the magnetic field of the moon", Damari said. "Spacecraft failed landing. Appeared to have crashed on the moon's surface!" The Beresheet lander ("in the beginning" in Hebrew, so named after an Israel-wide naming competition) was designed and built by SpaceIL from 2011 onwards for the Lunar X-Prize competition, and the project continued when the Lunar X-Prize was ended in 2018 without a victor, or even without an entry flying into space.