The SpaceIL Israeli company revealed the crash details of lunar lander Beresheet (originating from the first word of The Book of Genesis, the first book the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament, meaning ‘at the beginning’) which collapsed on April 11 while attempting to make a soft landing on the moon.
Following the results of the investigation, something went wrong with the lander measuring sensor — IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), at an altitude of 14 kilometres above the moon surface. Operators gave Beresheet the command to restart the unit, but it caused the chain reaction of other malfunctions and finally the failure of the main engine. They handled to restart the engine of Beresheet only when it was only 149 meters above the lunar surface. Unfortunately, the craft wasn’t able to slow down and crashed. At the same time, the IMU breakdown wasn’t critical as the lander had the fallback sensors, and it’s entirely possible that Beresheet would perform the landing if the operator hadn’t sent the fatal command.
It is expected that the images of the crash site will be delivered to the special cosmic department. The place where the Israeli lander made his last landing can be found and fixated by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft which is currently on the lunar orbit.
Despite the failure of landing, Beresheet entered the orbit successfully. Moreover, it was the first-ever interplanetary Israeli station and the first case when the lander which sent to the moon was designed at private expense. The Beresheet craft was launched into space at the end of February 2019 with the help of SpaceX Falcon 9 booster. Besides, Israel could occupy the fourth position after the USA, USSR, and China and become the country which managed to land the spacecraft on the lunar surface.
Initially, Beresheet was created within the contest of Google Lunar XPRIZE. The participants were offered to design and send their spacecraft to the moon. The project reached the finish line of the competition, which run out due to the deadline expiry. But still, the vehicle creators executed what they’ve started and sent Beresheet to the moon. Even though the mission wasn’t completed and the lander didn’t reach the lunar land, the XPRIZE fund affirmed to grant SpaceIL company with one million dollar Moonshot Award.
SpaceIL is going to develop and launch a new lunar lander Beresheet-2, which was stated by Morris Kahn, the Israeli billionaire and the main sponsor of the project.