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Beresheet Spacecraft Fails to Land Safely on the Moon

14 Apr 2019, 17:30 UTC
Beresheet Spacecraft Fails to Land Safely on the Moon
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Israel almost succeeded in rewriting lunar history on Thursday evening but fell short after spacecraft Beresheet (Hebrew for Genesis) failed to land safely on the Moon. Millions around the world tuned in live to watch the SpaceIL vessel, carrying an Israeli flag and a nano-Bible, descend to the Moon’s Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity) as the State of Israel sought to become only the fourth member of a prestigious club of nations to complete the formidable task of landing a spacecraft on the lunar surface.SpaceIL lost contact with the spacecraft only minutes before it was due to complete the historic landing – a feat previously achieved only by the United States, Russia (then the USSR) and China – after an epic seven-week, 6.5 million km. journey since Beresheet, an ambitious project developed by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on board a SpaceX rocket on February 22.For 48 days, Beresheet’s ground crew watched, monitored and executed every maneuver of the spacecraft from a control center at IAI’s Yehud headquarters. Once in position to descend, the landing maneuver – split into two phases of decreasing horizontal velocity and then vertical velocity – commenced but failed ...

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