Israel Will Build Another Moon Lander

Moon Landing
4/13/2019 9:59 PM   0 Comments

Israel will keep shooting for the moon.

The team behind the nation's Beresheet probe, which crashed during its historic lunar-landing attempt Thursday (April 11), will take another crack at Earth's nearest neighbor.

"We're going to actually build a new halalit — a new spacecraft," billionaire businessman and philanthropist Morris Kahn said in a video statement posted on Twitter by the nonprofit group SpaceIL. "We're going to put it on the moon, and we're going to complete the mission."

The work on Beresheet 2.0 will begin immediately, he added: the team is meeting this weekend to start planning the new project.

Kahn is president of SpaceIL, which built and operated Beresheet along with the company Israel Aerospace Industries. He also funded the mission to a large degree, covering about 40% of its total $100 million price tag. 

The 5-foot-tall (1.5 meters) Beresheet, whose name means "in the beginning" in Hebrew, launched to Earth orbit atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in February.

The little robot spent the next six weeks pushing its orbit slowly outward, getting closer and closer to the moon. On April 4, Beresheet was captured by lunar gravity, making Israel just the seventh nation to put a probe in orbit around the moon.

The touchdown attempt came a week later. Success would have granted Israel entry into an even more exclusive club; to date, only the Soviet Union, the United States and China have pulled off a soft lunar touchdown.

And those missions were all government-funded. Beresheet was aiming to become the first privately funded craft ever to explore the moon's surface.

But it wasn't to be. Beresheet suffered an engine glitch during its descent Thursday and slammed into the gray dirt at 310 mph (500 km/h).

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