“We started something, and we need to finish it. We will plant our flag on the moon!” And with those words, SpaceIL chairman Morris Kahn announced his intention to begin immediately on Beresheet 2, following Beresheet’s crash on the moon. Considerations have begun regarding manpower, budget, timetable, fund raising and more. The project for Beresheet cost $100 million dollars (NIS 370 Million) and was privately funded.
The cause of the crash of Beresheet on the moon was a malfunction of a technology on the craft causing the engine to stop. “A command intended to correct a malfunction in Beresheet’s inertial measurement unit (IMU) led to a chain of events which turned off during landing, according to a preliminary investigation according to SpaceIL.” By the time the engine was restored it could not right its course and it crashed on the moon.
Though the project failed in its endeavor to land on the moon, the mission must be proclaimed a success. The malfunction at the end of the mission was the only malfunction in the entire mission, while all other processes and tests worked flawlessly. When Beresheet entered the moon’s orbit, Israel became only the seventh country to do so. It covered over 3 million miles orbiting Earth, and one million miles orbiting the Moon. Finally, “SpaceIL wanted to prove that science- based moon missions do not have to cost billions of dollars and involve governmental support and control.”
The two companies, SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) along with the three visionaries who conceived the idea, Yonatan Weintraub, Kfir Damari, and Yariv Bash, brought the dream to fruition, and came so close to achieving their goal of landing on the moon.
While watching the dramatic mission unfold, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following the crash of Beresheet, “We will try again!” Indeed, they will, and Beresheet 2 is under way, with hopes of being back in space in two years.
(Sources: The Times of Israel, Melanie Lidman; Engineering 360, Nancy Ordman; Jerusalem Post, Eytan Halon)