SpaceIL says Beresheet will shoot higher than the moon

Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft took this “selfie” as it attempted to land on the moon. Photo: SpaceIL/YouTube 

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two months after the Beresheet spacecraft crashed on the surface of the moon, the SpaceIL organization said it will not make a second attempt.

Instead, the Israeli non-profit organization announced late on Tuesday in a statement and on social media, “we will seek out another, significant objective for Beresheet 2.0. More details to follow…”

SpaceIL also said that: “Repeating the journey to the Moon that was already received as a successful, record-breaking journey- doesn’t feel that we are raising the bar to meet new challenges.”

Two days after the washing machine-sized spacecraft crashed into the moon on April 11 due to a faulty sensor that led to the engine turning off, SpaceIL chairman Morris Kahn announced the Beresheet Project 2, saying “We are going to actually put a new spacecraft on the moon and we are going to complete the mission.” The South African-born billionaire gave a large amount of the $100 million required for the first Beresheet moonshot.

But the company said in a statement on Tuesday that after “in-depth discussions on the appropriate nature of Beresheet 2’s mission,” the company “reached the conclusion that the attempt to repeat the moon journey isn’t challenging enough.”

The spacecraft was developed by SpaceIL in conjunction with Israel Aerospace Industries in response to the Google Lunar X Prize competition, which challenged nongovernmental groups to land a spacecraft on the moon.

The Israel Space Agency announced in May that it would put about $5.6 million toward Beresheet 2.