Mission beresheet – the specs

Beresheet was Israel’s first lunar mission and the first attempt by a private company to land on the Moon. The mission achieved lunar orbit, but was lost during an April 2019 landing attempt. NASA had installed a small laser retroreflector aboard the lander to test its potential as a navigation tool.

Beresheet means ​”In the Beginning” in Hebrew.
OUTCOME: PARTIAL SUCCESS

Beresheet was about 5 feet (1 meter) tall by 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) wide with its landing gear and legs deployed. The lander separated first from the rocket, taking the long route to the Moon to save fuel by employing gravitational forces to propel itself. Beresheet slowly widened an elliptical orbit around Earth until it was captured by the Moon’s gravity and ultimately commanded to descend.

Beresheet attempted to touch down on April 11, 2019 in an ancient volcanic field known as the Sea of Serenity (Mare Serenitatis in Latin). NASA’s Apollo 17 astronauts landed near this region on Dec. 11, 1972. The team lost contact with the spacecraft shortly before expected touchdown.

“While NASA regrets the end of the SpaceIL mission without a successful lunar landing of the Beresheet lander, we congratulate SpaceIL, the Israel Aerospace Industries and the state of Israel on the incredible accomplishment of sending the first privately funded mission into lunar orbit,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said on April 11. “Every attempt to reach new milestones holds opportunities for us to learn, adjust and progress. I have no doubt that Israel and SpaceIL will continue to explore and I look forward to celebrating their future achievements.”

SpaceIL was established in 2010 to tackle the Lunar X Prize, a competition sponsored by Google that challenged private companies to land a spacecraft on the Moon. Though no company was able to meet the competition deadline, prompting Google to end it with no winner in March 2018, the Israeli team pressed on.

Additional Resources
National Space Science Data Center: Beresheet

Primary Source
Shekhtman, Lonnie. “NASA is Aboard First Private Moon Landing Attempt.” NASA Solar System Exploration, https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/856/nasa-is-aboard-first-private-moon-landing-attempt/.

“Update on First Private Robotic Spacecraft Attempt at Moon Landing.” NASA.gov, 11 April 2019, https://www.nasa.gov/feature/update-on-first-private-robotic-spacecraft-attempt-at-moon-landing.

Retrieved on May 3, 2019, from
https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/beresheet/in-depth/

Yariv Bash (Bio of Co-founder of SpaceIL)

Bio from CES conference website (next in January 2020)

Co-Founder and CEO, Flytrex

Yariv Bash is the co-founder and CEO of Flytrex Aviation, providing autonomous drone delivery systems. Flytrex was the 1st company in the world to deploy a B2C drone delivery system in the capital of Iceland, and it is now spearheading drone deliveries in the US as part of an FAA pilot program. Prior to Flytrex, Yariv was the Founder and CEO of SpaceIL. SpaceIL’s mission: landing an unmanned spaceship on the moon. The $95M not for profit project is scheduled to launch in February 2019 with a April 2019 moon landing. Prior to that, Yariv worked as an R&D engineer for the Israeli MOD, and was the co-founder of “Mahanet” – a national creativity camp for the defense and security forces of Israel. Yariv holds a BSc.EE from Tel Aviv University.

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TOI – SpaceIL chairman and co-founder to light Independence Day torch (04/15/19)

SpaceIL chairman and co-founder to light Independence Day torch
Morris Kahn and Kfir Damari will receive honor during ceremony on May 8 for promoting tech education and encouraging innovation

SpaceIL chairman Morris Kahn and one of the company’s co-founders, Kfir Damari, will light a torch at Israel’s 71st Independence Day ceremony on May 8, Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev announced Monday.

“SpaceIL has been working for eight years to promote scientific and technological education in Israel and to encourage Israeli innovation,” the committee responsible for choosing the honorees noted in a statement.

This year’s Independence Day theme is “The Israeli Spirit.”

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TOI – Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft crashes into the moon during landing attempt (04/11/19)

Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft crashes into the moon during landing attempt.
Vehicle built on shoestring budget fails during descent, after weeks of careful maneuvering in space; Netanyahu: ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try again’
By MELANIE LIDMAN
11 April 2019, 11:03 pm

The Beresheet spacecraft crashed into the moon’s surface during its attempt to land on Earth’s satellite on Thursday evening, dashing the hopes of hundreds of engineers who had worked on the project for years.

Israel could still claim the title of seventh country to make lunar orbit, and the seventh country to reach the lunar surface, though unfortunately not in one piece.

“As far as we can see, we were very close to the moon,” operation control director Alex Friedman said to engineers in the SpaceIL control room in Yehud, east of Tel Aviv, after communication with the spacecraft went down. “We are on the moon, but not in the way that we wanted to.”

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TOI – Engineers detail glitches that caused Beresheet to slam into moon (04/14/2019)

Engineers detail glitches that caused Beresheet to slam into moon
Technical problems began miles above landing spot when spacecraft lost main engine; engineers restarted it, but too late to prevent the craft smashing into lunar surface at 310 mph
By MELANIE LIDMAN
12 April 2019, 5:56 pm

Engineers on Friday released preliminary data about what they believe went wrong in the last moments of Beresheet’s flight, a day after the Israeli spacecraft crash-landed on the moon.

Engineers believe a technical glitch — likely in the component that measures the spacecraft’s altitude in relation to the surface — triggered a chain reaction of events that caused the main engine of the spacecraft to stop.

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Beresheet – The spotify playlist

The I center, dedicated to sharing educative ressources about Israel, created a playlist for the Beresheet mission, filled with Israeli songs relevant to the adventure. It’s pretty awesome, and it’s right here:

The original page is here (and did I mention it’s pretty awesome?).

JPost – Despite Crash, SpaceIL to receive $1 million moonshot award

DESPITE CRASH, SPACEIL TO RECEIVE $1 MILLION MOONSHOT AWARD
Founded in 1995, California-headquartered XPRIZE designs global competitions to incentivize the development of technological breakthroughs that accelerate humanity toward a better future.
BY EYTAN HALON APRIL 12, 2019 18:27

While SpaceIL’s attempt to land the Beresheet spacecraft on the Moon on Thursday evening ended in disappointment, the non-profit organization will receive a $1 million “Moonshot Award” from the XPRIZE Foundation for its achievements.

Founded in 1995, California-headquartered XPRIZE designs global competitions to incentivize the development of technological breakthroughs that accelerate humanity toward a better future.

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JPost – On Verge of Space History, Beresheet fails to land safely on moon

ON VERGE OF SPACE HISTORY, BERESHEET FAILS TO LAND SAFELY ON MOON
The State of Israel fell just short of becoming only the fourth member of a prestigious club of nations to complete the formidable task of landing a spacecraft on the lunar surface.
BY EYTAN HALON APRIL 12, 2019 01:31

Israel almost succeeded in rewriting lunar history on Thursday evening but fell short after spacecraft Beresheet (Hebrew for Genesis) failed to land safely on the Moon.

Millions around the world tuned in live to watch the SpaceIL vessel, carrying an Israeli flag and a nano-Bible, descend to the Moon’s Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity) as the State of Israel sought to become only the fourth member of a prestigious club of nations to complete the formidable task of landing a spacecraft on the lunar surface.

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Selfies

Beresheet send us two selfies that instantly became iconic.

The first one was a selfie with the Earth (kadour ha-arets), taken on March 1st, that gave every Israeli goosebumps:

Beresheet selfie 1

The pannel reads “Am Israel Hai“, which means “the people of Israel is alive” (a classic saying which also happens to be a very popular song).

The second was a selfie with the Moon (yareakh), taken during the descent towards the Moon, on April 11th, 2019:

Beresheet selfie 2

As someone from SpaceIL remarked: “Beresheet is a millenial, it doesn’t go anywhere without it selfie stick!”

To which someone commented on YouTube: “Police investigate: possible cause of crash, taking selfies during descent”!