Israel set to land spacecraft on the moon in first

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The project began in 2010 when Damari, along with Yonatan Winetraub and Yariv Bash, founded SpaceIL to compete in the Google Lunar X Prize competition, which challenged participating teams to "land a privately funded rover on the moon, travel 500 meters, and transmit back high-definition video and images" for a chance at winning $20 million.

The Israeli spacecraft - called Beresheet - attempted a soft landing, but had several technical and communication problems. It was a joint venture between private companies SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries, funded nearly entirely by private donations from well-known Jewish philanthropists, including South African billionaire Morris Kahn, Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, Lynn Schusterman, and others. Unlike all other countries to reach the moon, SpaceIL's achievement was funded nearly entirely by private donors rather than the government.

Confirming the Israeli mission failure, Opher Doron, the general manager of IAI, said, "We had a failure of the spacecraft".

Netanyahu for his part predicted an moon landing within three years.

Israel nearly rewrote the lunar history books on Thursday evening as spacecraft Beresheet (Hebrew for Genesis) failed to land safely on the Moon.

Israel, however, is one of just seven countries to have orbited the Moon, thanks to the Beresheet mission.

The main goals, SpaceIL and IAI representatives have said, involved advancing Israel's space program, increasing the nation's technological knowhow and getting young people more interested in science, technology, engineering and math. "We are on the moon, but not in the way that we wanted to".

The organisation aimed to win in the $20 million Google Lunar X Prize by becoming the first private robotic craft to set down on the moon, but unfortunately the deadline passed past year and it had to push on even without the monetary incentive.

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"I am seriously considering investing in a space programme", he said in the webcast.

But it's the low-price tag - and the fact that this mission has not been funded by a major space agency - that really makes this mission stand out.

Israel's Beresheet spacecraft has failed in its audacious attempt to make a Moon landing.

The project began as part of the Google Lunar XPrize, which in 2010 offered $30 million in awards to encourage scientists and entrepreneurs to come up with relatively low-priced moon missions. "And that caused an unfortunate chain of events we're not sure about", he said.

During the project's development, the SpaceIL team met with more than 1 million kids to tell them about their story. This will help scientists understand the Moon's geologic history better.

Last week, Beresheet executed the engine burn needed to put itself into orbit around the moon. It came at the end of a long, looping journey, a month and a half after the dishwasher-sized lander was sent into space by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a pre-launch logistical assist from Seattle-based Spaceflight.

India hopes to become the next lunar country in the spring with its Chandrayaan-2 mission.

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