Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport Adds MOON to List of Destinations

Bridenstine Space Symposium

Bridenstine Space Symposium

"I am sorry to say that our spacecraft did not make it in one piece to the moon", said Opher Doron, the manager of Israel Aerospace Industries' Space Division. "It's a tremendous achievement up 'til now".

Don't stop believing! We came close but unfortunately didn't succeed with the landing process.

Only three countries have completed the formidable task of landing a spacecraft on the lunar surface - the United States, Russia (then the USSR) and China.

But Beresheet accomplished plenty during its short life, as we shall see.

Israel's spacecraft Beresheet has crashed into the moon at approximately 10:25 pm, April 11, 2019, 7 Nissan 5779.

It was meant to be the first-privately funded spaceship to touch down on the moon this evening. It was constructed by Israeli nonprofit space venture SpaceIL and state-owned defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries.

The spacecraft hitched a ride on a SpaceX Falcon rocket launched from Florida in February. It traveled a total of 4 million miles to the moon, soaring around the Earth before entering orbit around the moon.

Budget Mission to the Moon airs on National Geographic on April 23 at 9 p.m.

Protesters Salute Sudanese Soldiers
Several military vehicles carrying troops entered the army compound in the early hours of Thursday, witnesses told AFP . Hundreds of mobile phones were held aloft, shining a sea of lights on the tide of people massed outside the buildings.

A picture of the far side of the moon with Earth in the background- also at 470 km from the moon.

The spacecraft had a number of technical problems during its final descent to the lunar surface, according to the team, which led to the apparent crash, though team members didn't use that word.

SpaceIL's lander would have touched down within the Mare Serenitatis on the northern hemisphere of the moon. Netanyahu wants a whole Israeli spaceship on the moon within 2 years.

And the lander has certainly done all of that.

For Israel, the landing itself is the main mission, but the spacecraft also carries on its one-way trip a scientific instrument to measure the lunar magnetic field, which will help understanding of the moon's formation. The journey began with Google's Lunar XPrize competition, and SpaceIL continued its work even after the competition ended without a victor.

To save size and money, Beresheet's designers made a decision to skip the kind of backup systems for power, communications and the like that are standard on most spacecraft.

"Well, we didn't make it, but we definitely tried", Kahn said after failure during Thursday's broadcast. "I told him that 'if you're serious, I'm in.' The three of us met in a bar in the city of Holon, Israel, and over a couple of beers we took out a paper and started drawing what the spacecraft was going to look like".

Mike Wall's book about the search for alien life, "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated byKarl Tate), is out now.

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