Stars not aligned? Israel’s lunar lander hits snag

Israel’s lunar spacecraft encounters hiccup on way to moon.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel’s first lunar spacecraft, Beresheet (or, “Genesis”) experienced a technical problem on Monday evening as a planned maneuver was automatically cancelled, The Jerusalem Post reports.

Everything else is functioning properly and SpaceIL and the Israel Aerospace Industries are studying the data to track down the problem.

The current issue follows another problem the spacecraft experienced on Friday having to do with sun glare affecting its ability to orient itself. But the mission team said there were other ways to correct its flight path.

Beresheet launched last Thursday night Eastern Time and will make the approximately 230,000 mile journey in a little over a month-and-a-half, arriving at the lunar surface on April 11.

A landing will make Israel only the fourth country, behind superpowers the U.S., Russia and China, to successfully reach the moon.

The project started out as an attempt to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP). The competition required a privately funded effort to land a robotic spacecraft on the Moon, travel 500 meters on the surface, and transmit back to Earth high-definition video and images. No country won the prize but Israel decided to continue with the effort on its own.