ISRAEL - The first private mission to the moon ended abruptly on Thursday in a rather unsatisfying manner. The Beresheet, SpaceIL's lunar lander, would have put Israel on the map like the other three countries who have sent out their space landers on the moon. However, the machine faltered the last second. It did end up on the moon bu it landed in a crash.
Immediately following the crash, it remained unclear why the lunar lander didn't get to land properly. The experts suspect that there might be an issue with the engine of the spacecraft. However, it remains challenging to get to the bottom of what happen especially when the lander lost its signal shortly after its engine was back online. The experts are now looking at the data collected from its attempt to land in moon. They believe it would help them get a better idea of what transpired and what went wrong in the process.
"Preliminary report of the technical information collected by the team shows that the initial technical glitch occurred when the lunar lander was at about 14 km above the moon," SpaceIL expressed in a tweet. "At 150 meters, the connection to Beresheet was lost. At that time, it was moving 500 km/h, making it inevitable for the collision to happen."
"Our engineers think that the machine had a problem that caused it to shut down -- making it impossible for the spacecraft to slow down in time for its descent on the moon.By the time the engine was restarted, its speed was too high it became not possible to land properly on the moon."
This is what the experts assumed happened when the viewers saw a live stream of the attempt to land on the moon. Just moments after the engine was fired up, it lost its power and the spacecraft lost its signal too. Everything went dark.
What happened was extremely disappointing, not only for Israel, but for everyone who wished it could safely land on the moon. However, experts still consider the mission as a success in more ways than one. The first one is the fact that the lunar lander was able to travel from the Earth's orbit into the orbit of the moon. This task was not easy to achieve.
At this time, the lunar lander may not have landed as planned, but it definitely gave the engineers behind it a lesson to learn. Perhaps on the next lunar mission, they would be able to gain more control of the lander. By then, everyone will be waiting for another attempt and will cheer them on.
In relation to this news, the Xprize group decided to aware SpaceIL with $1 million dollars to help them get started on whatever venture they want to pursue. This is after they were given the award "Moonshot Award." The attempt in itself is already rewarding, the success of the landing would have been just a bonus.