Israeli Moon-Lander Sends A Last Selfie Before Its Engine Failed And It Crashed Into The Lunar Surface

Israel’s attempt to become the first country to land a private spacecraft on the moon has ended in failure.  The Beresheet spacecraft began experiencing problems shortly after beginning its descent yesterday, despite a promising start in which it sent back a selfie at just 13.6 miles from the surface.  Mission control confirmed just minutes later that it had lost contact with the lander after resetting the main engine in effort to address an issue and get it all working again.  “We were very close to the moon,” officials said during the live broadcast, but confirmed that there was a failure in the spacecraft.  Engineers on site estimate the craft was about 9 miles from the surface when it began to break apart, being unable to slow down without its main engine.  SpaceIL was hoping to complete a landing of Beresheet on the moon and make Israel the fourth country to manage the feat – behind the US, Russia and China.   While it was unable to achieve this accomplishment, the mission still makes Israel only the seventh country to ever each lunar orbit.  The lander took off almost two months ago from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Photo Credit: @TeamSpaceIL via Twitter

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Scott Fox
Scott Fox