NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said to meet that goal, the agency is asking the private space industry to design a critical element - a lander that will get astronauts safely to the surface of the moon. Beresheet was a privately funded mission to repeat what the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China have all achieved: land a craft safely on the surface of the moon. "We have a failure of the spacecraft ... we have not landed successfully", SpaceIL said in the livestream.
It was only in the final few minutes that things went awry for Beresheet, when mission control lost communications with the spacecraft about 500 feet above the lunar surface.
Interestingly, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) has also expressed their willingness to contribute lunar landers and life support system during the upcoming mission to Lunar Orbiter Platform Gateway.
An Israeli spacecraft crashed on the moon Thursday evening during final touchdown, as its main engine stopped working. Scientists were still trying to figure out the cause of the failure. China's Chang'e-4 made the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon on January 3, after a probe sent by Beijing made a lunar landing elsewhere in 2013.
Morris Kahn, the major funder of the SpaceIL project, said in the control room after it was confirmed that the landing had failed, "You can't win 'em all". "I think we can be proud", he said.
"There's some desire already to plan the next launch, and the next one will do better and we will succeed". The statement doesn't discuss the specific issue or others that led to the engine malfunction, but during the webcast from mission control officials mentioned at one point a problem with an inertial measurement unit on the lander.
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Over the past seven weeks, Beresheet covered a total distance of about 4 million miles, circling Earth several times before reaching the moon's orbit on April 4. In a tweet, Peter Diamandis, founder of X Prize Foundation, announced, "XPRIZE to award $1 Million Moonshot Award to SpaceIL team for them to continue their work and pursue Beresheet 2.0".
But Prime Minister Netanyahu, who was also present, corrected Mr. Kahn with, "No, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again".
The failure was a disappointing end to a lunar voyage of 6.5 million kilometres (4 million miles), nearly unprecedented in length and created to conserve fuel and reduce price. "We failed to land the spacecraft".
"We made it all the way to the moon".
The president's direction from Space Policy Directive-1 galvanizes NASA's return to the Moon and builds on progress on the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, collaborations with U.S industry and worldwide partners, and knowledge gained from current robotic assets at the Moon and Mars. But Beresheet was not a science mission at heart. It then began an elaborate process of gaining velocity to reach the moon.