And project team members have met with more than 1 million Israeli schoolkids over the past eight years, taking the space-exploration message to the young masses. Scientists were still trying to figure out the cause of the failure. He came forward and said, "If at first you don't succeed, you try again".
When Google folded the contest, SpaceIL made a decision to continue on. The SpaceIL team was helped by multiple donations from the Israeli Space Agency as well as a donation from billionaire Sheldon Adelson in 2014.
Beresheet made the final cut, but after several deadline extensions, the competition ended previous year without a victor.
On the online board of Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport there is written the landing of the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet ("Genesis" or "Origin" in Hebrew) at 22:00 (19:00 GMT) next to flights from Istanbul and Madrid and the proviso that the time is "not final".
The lander launched on the night of February 21, soaring into Earth orbit atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The IAI and SpaceIL control room for Beresheet in Yehud, Israel. (16 miles) from the surface and the team rotated it to slow the spacecraft down and allow it to land. They are created to extend out so that the craft would be 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) wide when the legs are deployed. It orbited the moon, by itself a major accomplishment.
It managed to make it to lunar orbit, after all, and to send back a photograph from near the moon's surface, almost touching down softly - and all for a total mission price tag of just $100 million, including launch.
The craft's directives were to measure the moon's magnetosphere and to set up retroreflectors that NASA was going to use to measure the precise distance to the moon using a laser. It has spent 47 days, gradually making ever-widening elliptical orbits around the Earth until it was "captured" by the moon's gravitational pull and looped closer to its surface.
Beresheet separated from the second stage and was activated successfully, and started its seven-week journey to the Moon.
It lost communication with Earth just moments before it was due to make its lunar landing.
After what appeared to be a flawless initial descent, mission controllers announced Beresheet had a problem with its main engine. The landing, planned to take place on the northern end of Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity) near the crater Posidonius-E, is scheduled for between 7 and 8 pm GMT (3-4 pm Eastern in the US) on Thursday, April 11th. Only three - The US, Russia, and China - have successfully completed a soft-landing. The location was chosen because of the site's magnetic anomalies.
Team SpaceIL's Beresheet lunar failed to land on the surface of the moon on Thursday, preventing it from becoming the first Israeli spacecraft and the first privately funded probe to reach the surface of a celestial body beyond Earth.
A NASA navigation device on Beresheet provided lunar surface location details that can be used by future landers for navigation.
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