Bersheet Hit Moon at 500 Km/h After Engine Failure

Beresheet lander (Credit: SpaceIL)

YEHUD, Israel, April 12, 2019 (SpaceIL PR) — Preliminary data supplied by the engineering teams of SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IA) suggests a technical glitch in one of Beresheet’s components triggered the chain of events yesterday that caused the main engine of the spacecraft to malfunction. Without the main engine working prop3erly, it was impossible to stop Beresheet’s velocity. Beresheet overcame the issue by restarting the engine. However, by that time, its velocity was too high to slow down and the landing could not be completed as planned.

Preliminary technical information collected by the teams shows that the first technical issue occurred at 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) above the moon. At 150 meters (492 feet) from the ground, when the connection with the spacecraft was lost completely, Beresheet was moving vertically at 500 km/h (310.7 miles) to the inevitable collision with the lunar surface. Comprehensive tests will be held next week to gain a better understanding of the events.

  • Kirk

    That 500 km/h was just the vertical component. The final telemetry values shown for the horizontal component was 946.7 m/s (3408.12 km/h or 2,118 mph). It struck the surface obliquely, at less than a 10° angle.

  • Saturn1300

    Too bad. Wonder if the German company will still hire them.