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Israeli spacecraft crashes minutes before moon landing

IANS  |  Jerusalem 

Israel's Beresheet, the first privately-funded mission to the moon, crashed in the last part of its journey, moments before it was supposed to land, the media reported.

The aimed to perform a soft landing on the and would have made the fourth country to do so -- and by far the smallest. Only the US, the former and have done it before, reported.

"I am sorry to say that our did not make it in one piece to the moon," Opher Doron, the of Aerospace Industries' Space Division, said on Thursday.

"We made it all the way to the This is a great accomplishment. We are the seventh country to make it all the way to the "

The $100 million spacecraft, built by and Aerospace Industries, lost communications with the control room during the landing sequence. As programme managers who had been watching the mission in real time tried to re-establish communications, they also dealt with issues in the spacecraft's main engine.

At the time of the communications failure, the Beresheet was travelling at approximately 2,110 mph and was about 120 km from its

was founded eight years ago to compete for the Lunar XPrize. The contest offered $20 million for the first privately funded team to launch a to the moon, transmit high-definition video and travel 500 meters in any direction.

The XPrize was cancelled in January 2018 but the Israeli team decided to continue its pursuit of the moon landing.

The Beresheet spacecraft was launched on board a 9 rocket in February. It travelled a total of 4 million miles to the moon, soaring around the Earth before entering orbit around the moon.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, April 12 2019. 09:32 IST