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Beresheet orbits closer to Moon, enters into an elliptical orbit

The Beresheet space craft has completed another successful maneuver around the Moon, SpaceIL and the Israel Aerospace Industries confirmed on Monday morning.

The engineering teams said that Israel’s lunar mission successfully completed the maneuver at 07:48 a.m.

“During the maneuver, the engines operated for about 36 seconds and the amount of fuel burned was worth about six kilograms,” they said. “During the maneuver, the height of Apollona (furthest distance from the Moon) was decreased from 750 kilometers to 200 kilometers from the Moon and in fact became the Perilune, which is the point closest to the Moon.”

IAI and SpaceIL explained that the “spacecraft is now in an elliptical orbit at an altitude of 211 km to 467 km from the Moon.”

At 4:36 a.m. on Sunday, Israel time, Beresheet successfully performed the first maneuver around the Moon, the engineering team of SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries confirmed.

“During the maneuver, Beresheet’s engines operated for about 271 seconds and the amount of fuel burned was approximately 55 kg,” they said. “In this maneuver, all the engines operated at the same time to slow the spacecraft with maximum thrust to date.”

On April 5, Beresheet also photographed the Moon up close for the first time while the engines were running and while it was at the peak of the complex Moon-capture maneuver.

During the coming week, intensive maneuvers and preparations for the landing will be conducted.

Beresheet is expected to land on the moon on Thursday, April 11.