SpaceIL: Engine Trouble Behind Beresheet’s Crash Landing

An image taken by Beresheet upon its landing on the moon. (Courtesy Space IL/Handout via Reuters)

SpaceIL, whose robot craft Beresheet crash-landed onto the moon on Thursday, reports that during the landing process, a command was entered that lead to a chain reaction, which caused the main engine to switch off and prevented it from being reactivated.

SpaceIL president Morris Kahn released the findings of the preliminary investigation on Wednesday. In the coming weeks, the final results of the investigation will be released.

The aerospace company added that it would pursue a second mission with funds raised from private donors and the public.

The robot craft Beresheet, built by non-profit SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), crashed on its final descent on Thursday, dashing Israel’s hope of becoming the fourth country to manage a controlled lunar landing.

The maiden mission cost about $100 million, most of it raised from private donors like Kahn. He said in the interview that Israeli government participation amounted to about $3 million.

Private donors were already pledging funds for the new project, Kahn said, but he added that money should come from the public for “a project of the people of Israel.”

So far, only three nations have succeeded in carrying out a controlled landing on the lunar surface – the United States, the Soviet Union and China.