Israeli spacecraft Beresheet has crash-landed on the moon.
The support team said its planned controlled, or “soft”, landing was unsuccessful. The spacecraft’s orbit of the moon was a first for a private effort, but the landing failure highlighted the risks of fast and cheap approaches to space exploration. “We had a failure in the spacecraft,” Opher Doron, the general manager of Israel Aerospace Industries’ space division, which collaborated on building the spacecraft, said afterward. “We unfortunately have not managed to land successfully.”The mood at the command center was somber but still celebratory.“Well we didn’t make it, but we definitely tried,” said Morris Kahn, an Israeli telecommunications entrepreneur and president of SpaceIL, the nonprofit that undertook the mission. “And I think the achievement of getting to where we got is really tremendous. I think we can be proud.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who attended the event at the mission’s command center in Yehud, Israel, said, “If at first you don’t succeed, you try again.”Mr Doron explained that the spacecraft’s engine turned off shortly before landing – and by the time power was restored, the craft was moving too fast to land safely. Beresheet – a biblical phrase meaning “In the beginning” in Hebrew – had travelled through space for seven weeks in a series of expanding orbits around Earth before crossing into the moon’s gravity last week. It was built by Israeli non-profit space venture SpaceIL and state-owned defence contractor Israel Aerospace Industries with $100m (£76.5m) provided mainly by private donors.