Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Israeli Spacecraft Crashes On Moon After Engine, Communication Failure

The Israeli moon lander Beresheet on Thursday failed to be the first spacecraft built by the private sector to safely land on the moon. After entering orbit, the spacecraft lost its main engine and went into an uncontrolled descent.

The Israeli spacecraft had to tackle one of the biggest challenges of its lunar journey – the landing maneuver, the last stage of which was controlled solely by the spacecraft’s computer.

After initiating landing protocol, the control room said it lost contact with one of the landing detectors when the spacecraft was less than ten kilometers from the surface.

“According to all the sings, we won’t be the fourth country to land on the moon. We were very close on the moon. We’re on the moon, just not how we wanted. We’ll check it again and try to understand what happened,” the control room said.

In the final hours before landing, the spacecraft’s flight engineers found a flat surface where Beresheet could safely land at a time when the moon’s surface was not scorching hot from exposure to the sun. Temperatures on the moon are as high as 130 to 150 degrees Celsius (265 to 300 F.) during the lunar day – the equivalent of two weeks on Earth).

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.