At the end of a successful seven-week journey in space and with millions of people watching a live feed, the main engine on the spacecraft Beresheet gave out just before Israel became the fourth country to land on the moon.
The craft is assumed to have crashed on the lunar surface, a huge disappointment after high expectations.
Nevertheless Morris Khan, the main funder of Beresheet and president of SpaceIL, said he is already planning Beresheet 2.
“We’re going to put a new spacecraft on the moon and we’re going to complete the mission,” he said.
Israelis were glued to the live feed on Thursday night hoping to make history when SpaceIL lost communication with Beresheet (which means Genesis in Hebrew) just minutes before landing. Unlike in the movies, communication was never recovered. Beresheet did manage to transmit a close up picture of the moon’s surface before the connection was lost.
While Israel failed to become the fourth country to land on the moon (after the U.S., former Soviet Union and China) it is only the seventh to complete a lunar orbit. This mission was also the first privately launched attempt.
“This is part of my message to the younger generation: Even if you do not succeed, you get up again and try,” Kahn said in a statement.