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Israeli dream of landing on moon shatters as Beresheet crashes just before landing
Israel would have been only the fourth nation to achieve this feat.
Israeli spacecraft that was aimed to land on the moon has crashed just moments before it was supposed to touch down on the lunar surface. This also shatters the ambitious dream of carrying out the first privately funded mission to the moon.
The Beresheet spacecraft has lost communication with Earth while it was making its final descent to the Earth's natural satellite. Just moments later, the mission was declared as a failure.
"We definitely crashed on the surface of Moon," said Opher Doron, general manager of the space division of Israel Aerospace Industries. He said the spacecraft burst into pieces near the planned landing site. Doron also told that the engine lost power shortly before the landing.
By the time the power got restored, the spacecraft was hurtling too fast to make a safe landing. The team working on the project are still working on figuring out the cause of the failure.
"One of the inertial measurement units failed. And that caused an unfortunate chain of events we're not sure about," he said. "The engine was turned off. The engine was stopped and the spacecraft crashed. That's all we know."
The unfortunate turn of events took place in front of a packed audience that included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The event was also live broadcast on national television.
The Beresheet spacecraft was built by SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries and aimed to reach the moon, which has only been achieved by three countries: US, China, and Russia.
"If at first, you don't succeed, try try again," Netanyahu said. He also promised to send an Israeli spacecraft on the Moon "intact" within coming two years.
"We are full of admiration for the wonderful people who brought the spacecraft to the Moon," President Reuven Rivlin said. "True, not as we had hoped, but we will succeed in the end."
The spacecraft was launched with SpaceX' Falcon rocket which took flight in February from Florida. The spacecraft beamed back of the images of the moon during its journey.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine also responded on the failed mission saying: "While NASA regrets the end of the SpaceIL mission without a successful lunar landing of the Beresheet lander, we congratulate SpaceIL, the Israel Aerospace Industries and the state of Israel on the incredible accomplishment of sending the first privately funded mission into lunar orbit."
"Every attempt to reach new milestones holds opportunities for us to learn, adjust and progress," he added. "I have no doubt that Israel and SpaceIL will continue to explore and I look forward to celebrating their future achievements."