If only the sensors would indicate zero altitude, if only the spacecraft would continue communicating, if only we could download video footage of the lunar landing; every “if” marks such a monumental achievement.
For 48 days, Beresheet’s ground crew watched, monitored and executed every maneuver of the spacecraft from a control center at IAI’s Yehud headquarters.
According to initial assessments, one of the spacecraft’s inertial measurement units (IMUs) failed during the final effort. A full investigation will now begin.
NASA also participated in the mission and installed a laser retro-reflector on the spacecraft to assist with communication after landing. That communication system enabled the spacecraft to transmit a picture of the Moon from only 22 km. altitude ahead of the ill-fated landing.
The motivation to inspire younger generations to pursue scientific studies, Israel’s version of the “Apollo Effect,” has remained constant since the beginning of SpaceIL’s endeavor eight years ago.
An image taken by Israel spacecraft, Beresheet, upon its landing on the moon, obtained by Reuters from Space IL on April 11, 2019. Courtesy Space IL/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS -THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY