Israel’s Beresheet moon lander lost its main engine this afternoon just a few miles above the surface of the lunar surface. The engine was reignited but too late to prevent the spacecraft from crashing during its moon landing attempt.
Millions of people around the world watched the attempt live as Israel, which has only been a modern nation for 70 years, attempted to become the fourth nation to successfully land on the moon.
As the spacecraft began its decent, the crowd gathered in the control room were told Israel “likely won’t be the fourth country in the world” to land. The spacecraft snapped a “selfie” during its decent before communications were lost.
“We are on the moon, but not in the way we wanted. But we will check again,” the space controller announced to observers who responded with both cheers and clapping in support of the effort.
President Reuven Rivlin reassured the hundreds of thousands of children around the nation and those gathered at his private residence that the Beresheet spacecraft project was a huge accomplishment for Israel.
The moon attempt is “a big and excellent achievement — that has not yet been accomplished,” says Rivlin.
“This is an important night for the State of Israel,” he says, “There is no need to be disappointed. We need to praise what we accomplished.”
The attempt still puts Israel in an exclusive club of nations that have successfully launched a spacecraft to orbit the moon, and while the spacecraft crashed before the engine could regain control, the fact remains the Israeli flag is now on the moon.
Prime Minister Benhamin Netanyahu, who was just re-elected to a record fifth term, was optimistic at future prospects of a successful moon landing.
“A[n Israeli] spacecraft will land on the moon — whole,” Netanyahu stated, predicting that it will happen in two to three years.
NASA officials are sending Israel condolences over its failed moon landing — and congratulations for getting so far.
“While @NASA regrets the end of the @TeamSpaceIL mission without a successful lunar landing, we congratulate SpaceIL, Israel Aerospace Industries and the state of Israel on the accomplishment of sending the first privately funded mission into lunar orbit,” tweets NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.
–Dwight Widaman | Metrovoicenews.com