Israel not giving up after lunar lander crash

Louis Dillon

Despite tremendous disappointment following the crash of the Beresheet probe during its moon landing attempt, Israel’s space agency, SpaceIL, has vowed to return to Earth’s nearest neighbour.

Morris Kahn, president of SpaceIL, said that work on Beresheet 2.0 will begin immediately, with its team having met to start planning for the new project.

"We're going to actually build a new halalit — a new spacecraft," Kahn said in a video statement.

"We're going to put it on the moon, and we're going to complete the mission." 

Kahn is a billionaire businessman and philanthropist, and paid nearly $40 million of the $100 million for the original Beresheet mission.

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The Israeli spacecraft was aiming to become the first privately funded craft to explore the moon's surface, however an engine glitch saw the lander smash into the ground at 500km/h.

Beresheet launched from Earth on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket in February, and spent six weeks pushing its orbit closer to the moon, before crashing.

 

The mission came about after nearly eight years of hard work by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and SpaceIL, an Israeli non-profit organisation funded mostly by philanthropists and involving companies, universities and a very large number of school students.

This was prompted by the 2007 Google Lunar XPRIZE, which offered US$20 million to the first private venture to land a robotic probe on the moon, travel 500 metres and transmit high definition stills and video back to Earth.

A large number of contenders expressed interest but despite a number of extensions, no one had booked a launch by the final deadline of 31 March 2018 and the contest was called off.

Israel decided to proceed and its venture coincides with the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon.

Unfortunately, they'll need to rely on Beresheet 2.0 to complete the mission.

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