The Beresheet spacecraft, while approaching the moon crashed as its engine had stopped. The organisation aimed to win in the $20 million Google Lunar X Prize by becoming the first private robotic craft to set down on the moon, but unfortunately the deadline passed past year and it had to push on even without the monetary incentive. Israeli state-owned defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI). also took part in its development, which continued even after the competition ended with no timely victor.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that they have failed during their first try. "We wish Indians better luck with their landing", he added, referring to Chandrayaan II, India's next lunar mission, which is gearing up for a launch this year.
"We'll try again, and next time we'll just try it more gently". "I hope this time we will succeed", he said at a cabinet meeting.
According to the live stream, the spacecraft had to travel only 10 kilometres left to go (6.2 miles).
The spacecraft hitched a ride on the SpaceX Falcon rocket, launched from Florida in February. It also had a time capsule that included a Bible, Israeli cultural symbols and a picture of famed Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who died in the crash of the USA space shuttle Columbia in 2003.
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Speaking on Sunday, the Israeli PM was full of praise for the mission, saying it had "put Israel into the history books" as one of seven countries to orbit the moon.
"SpaceIL and Beresheet's journey captured the hearts of millions in Israel and around the world..."
The Moonshot Award will be given to SpaceIL at the nonprofit's annual Visioneering Summit in October "with the hope that they will use these funds as seed money towards their education outreach or Beresheet 2.0, a second attempt to fulfill the mission", said XPRIZE CEO Anousheh Ansari. "If we're successful, we'll inspire children to study the subjects that took us there". "This is what I'm doing, and what I wanted to tell you this evening".
Phil Larson of the University of Colorado, who was a space adviser in the Obama White House, said the Israeli effort underlines that "space is still extremely hard, and landing human made objects on other worlds is an utmost challenge".