While China managed a successful “far side” Lunar landing not so long ago, Israel’s failed attempt seems to have generated more news. Here’s the alleged reasons for failure. It all seems a bit vague. Or maybe the Lunar Residents Association like China but not Israel…? (Humour intended, don’t call me out for discriminatory hate speech!!) Martin
Article by Jeff Foust — April 12, 2019
WASHINGTON — As SpaceIL continues its investigation into its failed lunar landing attempt April 11, its backers as well as others in the space community remain optimistic about efforts to privately develop such spacecraft despite technical challenges.
In an April 12 statement, SpaceIL said a technical problem in an unspecified component triggered a “chain of events” that shut down the Beresheet lander’s main engine during its descent to the lunar surface, dooming the mission.
That initial problem took place when Beresheet was at an altitude of 14 kilometers. The statement doesn’t discuss the specific issue or others that led to the engine malfunction, but during the webcast from mission control officials mentioned at one point a problem with an inertial measurement unit on the lander.
The lander was able to restart its main engine, according to the statement, but “by that time, its velocity was too high to slow down and the landing could not be completed as planned.” Telemetry was lost permanently from the lander at an altitude of 150 meters, showing the spacecraft was descending at 500 kilometers per hour, far too fast for a soft landing.
SpaceIL said that “comprehensive tests” are planned for next week to better understand the events that led to the failed landing, but didn’t give a timetable for releasing more details about the cause of the landing…