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Israeli spacecraft crashes in attempt to land on moon

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Christian Fernsby | Friday April 12, 2019 9:45AM ET
Israeli spacecraft crashes in attempt to land on moon
World   The spacecraft lost communication with ground control during its final descent

An Israeli spacecraft crashed into the moon just moments before touchdown, failing in an ambitious attempt to make history Thursday as the first privately funded lunar landing.


The spacecraft lost communication with ground control during its final descent. Moments later, the mission was declared a failure.

"We definitely crashed on the surface of the moon," said Opher Doron of Israel Aerospace Industries.

He said the spacecraft's engine turned off shortly before landing, and scientists were still trying to figure out the cause. The spacecraft, called Beresheet, was in pieces scattered at the landing site, he said.

Doron nonetheless called the mission an "amazing success," for reaching the moon and coming so close to landing successfully.

"It is by far the smallest, cheapest spacecraft ever to get to the moon," he said. Beresheet was about the size of a washing machine.

The mishap occurred in front of a packed audience that included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and was broadcast live on national television.

"We will try again," Netanyahu said. "We reached the moon, but we want to land more comfortably, and that is for the next time."

 

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