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‘Beresheet 2’ won’t attempt moon landing, SpaceIL searches for new challenge

“The journey of ‘Beresheet’ to the moon, despite the hard landing, will last in the memory of Israel and the world as a successful one, a breakthrough,” SpaceIL said in a statement.

A view of the Arab Peninsula and Southeast Africa taken by the “Beresheet” Israeli spacecraft from a distance of 16,000 kilometers. Credit: SpaceIL.
A view of the Arab Peninsula and Southeast Africa taken by the “Beresheet” Israeli spacecraft from a distance of 16,000 kilometers. Credit: SpaceIL.

Proceeding a lengthy debate, Israel’s SpaceIL announced on Tuesday that it will not make a second attempt to successfully land on the moon.

“The journey of ‘Beresheet’ to the moon, despite the hard landing, will last in the memory of Israel and the world as a successful one, a breakthrough, and very significant for future human journeys to the moon,” SpaceIL said in a statement. “Feedback that we received from across the world in the weeks following the landing points towards the mission being considered an extraordinary success and breaking many world records.”

The company said it would seek a new challenge.

Israel nearly became the fourth country, following the United States, China and Russia, to successfully land a craft on the moon as “Beresheet,” save for a last-minute issue with its main engine just before touchdown in mid-April that caused it to crash into the lunar surface.

“Beresheet,” named after the first word and the first book in the Torah (meaning “in the beginning”), lifted off from Cape Canaveral on Feb. 22 and almost completed its 6.5 million-kilometer journey to the moon. It succeeded in entering the moon’s orbit, which is an accomplishment achieved by only seven countries.

Immediately after the result, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel will make another attempt, likely in the next two to three years. SpaceIL chairman Morris Kahn said shortly thereafter that there will be a second attempt. That will now not be the case.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine told JNS last month that the agency will “100 percent” be part of “Beresheet 2.”

NASA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday’s SpaceIL announcement.

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