Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL has announced that it will abandon plans for a second moonshot after a crash landing in its original mission earlier this spring. At the time, the company said it would make a second attempt to land on the Moon, but a tweet from its official Twitter account today say that the team will instead continue to build the spacecraft Beresheet 2 for a different objective.
This time, we will not go to the moon. Beresheet’s journey to the Moon was already received as a successful, record-breaking journey. Instead we will seek out another, significant objective for Beresheet 2.0. More details to follow… pic.twitter.com/W8absyxT1Y
— Israel To The Moon (@TeamSpaceIL) June 25, 2019
The original Beresheet made its mission to the Moon on April 11th, but failed to stick the landing just moments before the spacecraft reached the lunar surface. “According to preliminary investigation of the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet’s landing maneuver, it appears that a manual command was entered into the spacecraft’s computer,” SpaceIL said in a statement at the time. “This led to a chain reaction in the spacecraft, during which the main engine switched off, which prevented it from activating further.”
Despite the crash landing, SpaceIL is calling its April mission a “successful, record-breaking journey,” adding that “an attempt to repeat a trip to the Moon is not enough of a challenge,” reports the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, other private groups are still marching on with their Moon landing missions slated for as early as 2020, including companies like Japan’s ispace and Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic. In addition to Astrobotic, NASA has also selected two additional companies to send robotic landers to the Moon — Orbit Beyond and Intuitive Machines — to help the agency further study the lunar surface.