The Hush Post | 7:59 pm | Two-minute read |
After travelling 6.5 million kilometers (4 million miles) in space, an Israeli spacecraft crashed just before landing on the moon. Just moments before touchdown on Thursday, the spacecraft lost contact with ground control.
It was an ambitious first privately funded lunar landing which failed. The spacecraft hitched a ride on a SpaceX rocket launched from Florida in February.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said, “We definitely crashed on the surface of the moon”.
Opher Doron of the IAI said the spacecraft’s engine turned off shortly before landing. He said scientists were still trying to figure out the cause.
The spacecraft was named as Beresheet, which means “Genesis” or “In the Beginning”.
The spacecraft aimed to perform a soft landing on the moon and would have made Israel the fourth country to do so — and by far the smallest.
The feat has been achieved only by U.S., Russia and China.
Nonetheless, the IAI has called the mission an “amazing success”.
“It is by far the smallest, cheapest spacecraft ever to get to the moon” said the IAI.
Beresheet was about the size of a washing machine.
The event was watched live by a packed audience that included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It was also broadcast live on national television.
The small robotic spacecraft was built by the nonprofit SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries.