Yesterday, Israel's first mission on the Moon ended in a rather abrupt and unsatisfactory way. The Lunar lander Beresheet of SpaceIL, which was part of a private funded mission that would turn Israel into the fourth country to successfully land on the Moon, failed in the last second.
After the lander accident, it is unclear what happened. A problem with the spacecraft engine was suspected, but the signal from the lander was lost shortly after the engine returned online so the responses were difficult to obtain. Now, after studying landing attempt data, SpaceIL has a better idea of what went wrong.
"The preliminary technical information collected by the teams showed that the first technical problem occurred 14 km above the Moon", SpaceIL explained in a tweet. "To 150 meters when the connection with #Beresheet was lost, it was moving at 500 km / h, making an inevitable collision."
"Our engineers think that a technical failure in one of the components caused the main engine to stop and made it impossible to slow the descent of the ship. When the engine was restarted, the speed was too high to land properly."
This is essentially what we assume happened in terms of what viewers could see during the live broadcast of the landing attempt. The engine lost power and the spacecraft signal dimmed just moments after it was fired.
It is a huge disappointment for SpaceIL and anyone who was following Beresheet's journey. Even so, the mission was a success in several ways, no less important than the fact that it successfully entered lunar orbit in the first place, which is not an easy task.
In a piece related to incredible news, the XPrize group decided to grant a "Moonshot Award" to $ 1 million to SpaceIL to help the team begin on any of the projects that will follow.