‘Not challenging enough’: SpaceIL won’t send another spacecraft to the moon
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‘Not challenging enough’: SpaceIL won’t send another spacecraft to the moon

After crash landing of Beresheet on lunar surface in April, organization behind Israeli project says it is eyeing more ambitious goals

The last shot Beresheet sent of landing before crashing onto the moon's surface, April 11, 2019. (YouTube screenshot)
The last shot Beresheet sent of landing before crashing onto the moon's surface, April 11, 2019. (YouTube screenshot)

Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL on Tuesday announced it will not repeat its attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon, following the crash landing of the Beresheet probe earlier this year.

Beresheet, the world’s first privately funded moon lander, collided with the lunar surface in April during an attempted landing due to technical failure.

Just days after the failed landing, SpaceIL announced it would launch a second mission named Beresheet 2, with the company’s chairman Morris Kahn vowing to put an Israeli flag on the moon.

But after “in-depth discussions on the appropriate nature of Beresheet 2’s mission,” SpaceIL said in a statement, the company “reached the conclusion that the attempt to repeat the moon journey isn’t challenging enough.”

SpaceIL said it received positive feedback that indicated Beresheet is remembered as a success among Israelis, despite the landing failure, and boasted it “broke several world records.”

“The spacecraft was built on the lowest budget, traveled the farthest distance to the moon, was the smallest [spacecraft] to get there and [was] the only moon project funded by private means,” it said.

SpaceIL added it will update the public on the new nature of the mission when it has been decided.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his wife Sarah and South African philanthropist Morris Kahn watch the launch of the Beresheet spacecraft from the Yehud command center on February 22, 2019. (SpaceIL)

The planned second mission to the moon had received public backing from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kahn announced last month he would contribute funding for Beresheet 2.

Kahn provided a large chunk of the $100 million (NIS 370 million) required to build and launch the first spacecraft — a novel approach that came at a fraction of the cost of previous, state-funded efforts to land on the moon.

The project was a joint venture between SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries, funded almost entirely by private donations from well-known Jewish philanthropists, including Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, Lynn Schusterman, and others.

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