Just days after an Israeli spacecraft crash-landed on the moon, Israel announced that it would build a new craft and attempt another moon landing.
SpaceIL Chairman Morris Kahn said the craft would be named Beresheet 2, which will honor Beresheet, the first craft. Kahn said the second Israeli spacecraft would achieve a lunar landing. “This is part of my message to the younger generation: Even if you do not succeed, you get up again and try,” said Kahn, who plans to form a new group of private donors to support Beresheet 2. He said the new project would begin immediately.
Initial 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 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 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) before it collided with the lunar surface. More tests are slated to be held in order for engineers 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.”