Looks like the landing failed. Or at least the landing wasn’t soft. It probably left a long trench.

Great effort, though. Just getting into lunar orbit on the first attempt was a huge success; JPL missed the moon completely with several of the Ranger attempts. I hope they’re funded to try again.

10 thoughts on “Beresheet”

  1. After the failure, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the audience in mission control, saying “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.”

    And that’s what I think they’ll do.

  2. Ha! I left this comment at Ace of Spades just a few minutes ago:

    I was really busy at work today. Our color copier was down all day yesterday and I was scrambling to catch up.

    I forgot all about the Beresheet lunar lander. I saw the link in the sidebar and clicked it just in time to hear the announcement that the landing had failed. Oh, well. It did pretty good considering it was a small spacecraft on a shoestring budget compared to previous lunar landers.

    Look at the Ranger probes back in the early 1960s. They were designed to photograph the moon before crashing into it. The technology for soft landings hadn’t been fully developed at that time.

    But the first six attempts failed for a variety of reasons. The second stage failed to relight, the spacecraft went off course and missed the moon entirely, communications with the spacecraft were lost in midflight, and in one case it flew perfectly but the cameras failed to turn on.

    It wasn’t until Ranger 7 that we had a success. America couldn’t even properly crash a probe into the moon back then.

    1. Yes, but I missed it because I thought they were launching at 9:35 PM, even though that conflicted with The Orville. I guess they realized the problem and moved the launch up.

      There’s an interesting Indian English word for moving a schedule up, “prepone”, and obvious derivative of “postpone”. Usage: “The chairman preponed the eleven o’clock meeting for 9:00 AM!” Unfortunately the word hasn’t caught on yet outside India, and the lack of an American or British English word for moving a schedule up means my brain can’t process the idea, which is why I got caught by surprise.

  3. As a first effort, Beresheet was both credible and creditable. Too bad they lost it in the clubhouse turn but even more went right than went wrong. This was, frankly, a much more impressive failure than SpaceX’s initial Falcon 1 launch.

    Best of luck on try No. 2.

  4. Real nice try. You could see the point where the IMU apparently went out and all the numbers froze. Then a minute later they came back on, but it was clearly too late. The altitude had gone from 10,000 meters to 150 meters or such; probably it was actually zero by then. The room was really quiet; everyone knew what the ship had done.
    I hope they got some data back on what went wrong.

  5. story

    A preliminary investigation into what caused Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft to crash-land on the moon April 11 puts the apparent blame on a “manual command” that was entered into the spacecraft’s computer.

    “This led to a chain reaction in the spacecraft, during which the main engine switched off, which prevented it from activating further,” according to a statement released today (April 17) by Beresheet’s handlers, the nonprofit group SpaceIL and the company Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

    Teams continue to investigate further, in order to understand the full picture of what occurred during the mission, the statement says. “In the coming weeks, final results of the investigation will be released.”

    That doesn’t add a lot of clarity, but does eliminate system failures.

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