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After lunar crash, SpaceIL announces ‘Beresheet 2.0’

“I’ve decided that we are going to actually establish ‘Beresheet 2,’ ” SpaceIL chairman Morris Kahn said in a video released by SpaceIL. “We’re actually going to build a new [spacecraft], we’re going to put it on the moon, and we are going to complete the mission.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (right) and SpaceIL president Morris Kahn at an introduction of the Israeli spacecraft "Beresheet" at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on Feb. 17, 2018. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (right) and SpaceIL president Morris Kahn at an introduction of the Israeli spacecraft "Beresheet" at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on Feb. 17, 2018. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.

SpaceIL chairman Morris Kahn announced on Saturday that there will be a second “Beresheet” lunar spacecraft, following the first Israeli moon mission that ended unsuccessfully last week when the spacecraft crashed into the moon’s surface.

“I’ve decided that we are going to actually establish ‘Beresheet 2,’ ” he said in a video released by SpaceIL. “We’re actually going to build a new [spacecraft], we’re going to put it on the moon, and we are going to complete the mission.”

Kahn, who mentioned he was encouraged by worldwide feedback on the first mission, said he intends to lead the second project, and will form a new group of donors to support “Beresheet 2.0” and has appointed a new team, which started on Sunday.

“Beresheet,” named after the first word and the first book in the Torah (meaning “in the beginning”), lifted off from Cape Canaveral on Feb. 21 and almost completed its 6.5-million-kilometer journey to the moon.

On Thursday, a failure in its main engine just before touchdown caused it to crash into the lunar surface.

Immediately after the result, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel would make another attempt.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try again,” he said.

The initial project started eight years ago when its co-founders attempted to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE challenge by being the first private team to land a robotic spacecraft on the moon, travel 500 meters, and transmit back to Earth high-definition video and images. The contest ended in March 2018 with no winner.

However, SpaceIL’s implementers Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yehonatan Weintraub pressed on, acquiring the backing of multiple donors, including Kahn.

SpaceIL’s effort was assisted by NASA. Only the United States, Russia and China have landed crafts on the moon, with India working on it.

On Friday, XPRIZE announced it will award SpaceIL with a $1 million award for being just the seventh nation to orbit the moon.

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