Israel’s private spacecraft Beresheet crashed into the Moon on Thursday after being hit with problems during descent, denying the Jewish state a place in the elite club of nations that mastered a lunar landing.
“Small country, big dreams,” the engraving on the spacecraft’s body read, but those dreams weren’t destined to come true.
Beresheet’s engine stopped working around 10 kilometers from the surface, with the vehicle crashing into the Moon at a speed of over 130 meters per second.
It looks like the #beresheet lander (the first private lander trying to land on the moon) hit the surface going 134 m/s (wayyyyyy too fast) after its main engine cut out around 10 km in altitude 😩 pic.twitter.com/4cOlez7Fby
— Everyday Astronaut (@Erdayastronaut) April 11, 2019
The blunder occurred on a live feed in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, who arrived at the control center for the occasion.
Beresheet, which is Hebrew for the biblical phrase “in the beginning,” could have also become the first private spacecraft to land on the Moon. It was constructed by Israeli nonprofit space venture SpaceIL and state-owned defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries. The $100 million needed for the ambitious project came from private investors.
Only Russia, the US, and China have so far managed to perform controlled “soft” landings on the lunar surface.
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