Israeli lunar lander misses scheduled maneuver due to computer glitch

An artist’s depiction of Beresheet lunar lander

An artist’s depiction of Beresheet lunar lander

Tucked away inside Israel's Beresheet lunar lander, now on its way to the moon, is a massive archive documenting humanity's achievements.

Beresheet, Israel's privately-backed spacecraft that was launched on its historic journey to the moon last week, has completed a significant maneuver and appears to be back on track, despite an earlier glitch, The Jerusalem Post reported Friday.

Beresheet also has an issue with the star tracker it uses for navigation being susceptible to blinding by the sun's rays.

"At this time, the spacecraft's systems are working well, except for the known problem in the star tracker", SpaceIL said in a statement. Just before it was supposed to make its move, the spacecraft's computers unexpectedly restarted, cancelling out the commands and keeping the Beresheet lander on its already-established orbit. (43,000 miles) from Earth's surface.

The lander's path to the moon is complex, involving a number of engine burns and swings around the Earth and then the moon before a planned landing April 11.

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If successful, Israel will be the fourth nation to reach the moon, following the United States, Russia, and China.

Falcon 9 launched the Israeli moon lander, Beresheet, on February 21. SpaceIL says it's looking into the situation with help from the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Other donations came from Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, the Science and Technology Ministry, the ISA, the Weizmann Institute and various private individuals.

"We are on our way to the moon", affirmed SpaceIL CEO Ido Anteby on Thursday.

The spacecraft will traverse the longest distance ever to the Moon - some 6.5 million km.

So far, the shuttle has broken the Israeli speed record, traveling at 10.5 kilometers per second.

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