This content is not available in your region

Israel's Beresheet spacecraft fails in moon landing attempt

Access to the comments Comments
By Emma Beswick
Israel's Beresheet spacecraft fails in moon landing attempt
Copyright  Courtesy Space IL/Handout via REUTERS   -  

Israel's Beresheet spacecraft failed in its "soft" landing on the moon's surface on Thursday evening, its support team said.

It meant the country stopped short of joining agencies from the former Soviet Union, the US and China as the fourth nation ever to land on the moon's surface.

Israel's Space Agency said on Twitter the machine "appeared to have crashed on the moon's surface" due to a "main engine fail".

Hebrew for "in the beginning", Beresheet cost around $100m (€88.8m) and was the first privately-funded mission to the moon — a joint project between Israeli non-profit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries.

The unmanned robotic lander had a number of technical problems during its final descent to the lunar surface, the mission's crew said.

It suffered periodic engine and communications failures during the 21 minutes or so of the landing sequence.

"We came close but unfortunately didn’t succeed with the landing process," the team said in a tweet.