Friday, April 12, 2019

4th to the Moon

Israel is “the seventh country to orbit the moon and the fourth to reach the moon's surface.”

Israel's Beresheet Lunar Lander Lost
The Beresheet lunar lander, operated by the Israeli non-profit SpaceIL, crashed into the surface of the moon this afternoon while attempting to land.
About 30 minutes after the start of SpaceIL's livestream, Beresheet began it's landing procedure 25 km above the surface, the lander descended at a rate of about 24 m/s and everything seemed to be going according to plan.

Then, when the lander was about 13 km above the surface, SpaceIL suddenly lost telemetry data from the lander, which SpaceIL attributed during the livestream to one of the lander's inertial measurement units. When the spacecraft's telemetry data was restored, it was 10 km above the surface and suddenly descending over 50 m/s and it never slowed down, instead accelerating to over 100 m/s in just over a minute at about 5.5 km above the surface of the moon.

The mood in the control room grew increasingly tense and quiet as SpaceIL engineers could do little more than watch as Beresheet plummeted to the surface. After about another minute, Beresheet sent its last telemetry data back to Earth, 149 m above the ground and traveling at a speed of 134.3 m/s as it smashed into the surface of the moon.

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