Moon Landing By Israel’s Beresheet Spacecraft Appears To End In Crash (gizmodo.com)

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: A small spacecraft that has captured the imagination and excitement of people in Israel and around the world appears to have crashed on the moon (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source). “We had a failure in the spacecraft,” said Opher Doron, the general manager of Israel Aerospace Industries’ space division, which collaborated on building the spacecraft. “We unfortunately have not managed to land successfully.”

If it had succeeded, the robotic lander, named Beresheet, which means “Genesis” or “in the beginning” in Hebrew, would have been the first on the moon built by a private organization, and it would have added Israel to just three nations — the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China — to have accomplished that feat. Beresheet reached the launchpad and was headed to space aboard a SpaceX rocket in February. It orbited the moon, by itself a major accomplishment. That has only been done by five nations — the United States, the former Soviet Union, China, Japan and India — and the European Space Agency. But the landing was the riskiest part of the mission. The start of the automated landing sequence went as planned. The spacecraft even took a picture of itself at an altitude of 13 miles with the moon in the background. Then, still high above the surface, the engine cut out. The appointed landing time — 10:25 p.m. in Israel, or 3:25 p.m. Eastern time — came and passed, and the SpaceIL team realized the mission was over. “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 said, “If at first you don’t succeed, you try again.”

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