Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft may have crashed on the moon, but SpaceIL is not yet ready to throw in the towel. Planning for Israel’s second lunar spacecraft is already underway.
Just days after Beresheet crashed on the moon, the SpaceIL team’s spirits are already up again. In a video statement on Twitter, the president of SpaceIL, Morris Kahn, announced that they are going to build another spacecraft and complete the mission. The team will work on the project immediately, and in fact, meetings to plan the new endeavor are already scheduled.
“Project Beresheet 2 begins tomorrow,” he says in the video.
According to Kahn, the decision to build another spacecraft came because of all the support that they got from all over the world. Khan, a South African-born billionaire, largely funded the original mission, covering about 40 percent of the $ 100-million project. Israel Aerospace Industries, which was SpaceIL’s partner on Beresheet, is also willing to be a part of the new endeavor.
Originally, the SpaceIL team was one of the Google Lunar XPrize finalists, and the team continued work on the project even after the competition had ended without announcing a winner. The hope was that Beresheet would be the world’s first privately funded mission to the moon, and to become the fourth nation to touch down on the moon’s surface.
With all the team’s efforts, Israel became the seventh nation to put a probe in orbit around the moon. Unfortunately, Beresheet experienced a glitch while it was descending, and it crashed.
Despite this, the team’s spirits have not been dampened, and XPrize still awarded them the $1 million Moonshot Award since they were still able to touch the moon. Furthermore, even if the team was unable to land perfectly on the moon, they still achieved Beresheet’s main goals of advancing Israel’s space program and generating young children’s interest in science, engineering, technology, and math.