Israel is preparing a new mission to explore the moon


In the spring of 2019, the Israeli nonprofit organization SpaceIL launched the Beresheet lunar landing automatic station. The general contractor responsible for developing the spacecraft was Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Israel’s main manufacturer of civilian and military aerospace products. The development of the lunar mission cost $100 million and was financed by donations of businessmen from the U.S. and Israel itself.

“Bereshit” successfully reached the orbit of the moon, but could not make a soft landing on its surface. Investigation showed that during descent one of the two inertiometers, responsible for determination of attitude and acceleration of the spacecraft, turned off. The computer tried to reactivate the device, but this resulted in a program restart and a shutdown of the main braking engine.

After a long period of reflection SpaceIL decided to try again to reach the Moon. IAI will build the station “Bereshit-2”, but the new device will be completely different from its predecessor.

The “Bereshit-2” will consist of a satellite of the Moon and two small landing vehicles, which will try to reach the surface of the Moon in different points. The satellite itself will remain in orbit and will take pictures of the Moon: this mission could last for several years. The assembled mass of the spacecraft will slightly increase in comparison with the first mission (its starting mass was 585 kg). But the landing vehicles this time will be much smaller.

No technical details about the future lunar research station have yet been disclosed, but IAI states that it will not be based on the platform of the first Bereshit. “Because of the new missions and the size of the vehicle, we are practically creating a new project,” IAI Vice President Shlomi Sudri told reporters. – “But this project will use the components that have proven to be reliable in the previous mission. And, of course, the landing pattern will be improved.”

Work on the Bereshita 2 project began about six months ago. SpaceIL hopes to launch in about three years.

SpaceIL and the UAE Space Agency signed a memorandum of understanding at Space Week in Dubai on Oct. 20. Under the terms of this document, the UAE will provide some scientific instruments for Bereshit-2.

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