As an Israeli-based mission, Beresheet was attempting to make Israel the fourth country in history to put a spacecraft on the moon. "I think that the achievement of getting to where we got is really tremendous". "Close to $400 million has been invested in an industry no one was looking at before". (NASA had previously crashed Rangers 4, 5 and 6 into the moon between 1962 and 1964.) In 1966, the USSR became the first country to achieve a soft landing on the moon with Luna 9, followed by another with Luna 13.
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, called Beresheet, suffered periodic engine and communications failures during the landing sequence, the support team said. "It's the size of a dining table". "And instead of building a satellite, we built a spacecraft". It orbited the moon, by itself a major accomplishment.
Phil Larson of the University of Colorado, who was a space adviser in the Obama White House, said the Israeli effort underlines that "space is still extremely hard, and landing human made objects on other worlds is an utmost challenge".
Its speed has reached 10 kilometres per second, (36,000 kilometres per hour).
Winter Storm Watch For Laramie Wednesday & Thursday
A blizzard warning is in effect for much of South Dakota and portions of northwestern Nebraska and southwestern Minnesota . Temperatures are mild Tuesday morning, but a cold front arriving later in the day should make conditions colder.
On Wednesday, the lander made a manoeuvre to lower its altitude for a lunar orbit of between nine and 124 miles while preparing for the landing. The engine was stopped and the spacecraft crashed. Eventually the craft was snagged by the Moon's gravity and began its long descent to the surface. The prize was eventually scrapped, but the three young engineers chose to continue developing the spacecraft.
He went on: "Right now I'm feeling a combination of all emotions: super-excited, nervous to see what's going to happen, and exhausted after a long, long journey".
When the landing moment comes, a series of commands from SpaceIL and IAI's control room in the central Israeli city of Yehud, will activate the spacecraft's sensors, after which its engine will run as it makes its way to the landing site.
NASA, for example, spent about US$469 million in the 1960s on seven similarly sized Surveyor lunar landers. It is a privilege to be part of this mission that's taking one more step towards solving it'. But in that time, the team hopes to gain some valuable insights.
Rob Westcott, senior propulsion engineer at Nammo, said: "We've never used an engine in this kind of application before". SpaceIL also planned to share its data with NASA and other space agencies and "hop" Beresheet to another location using its thrusters. The man responded that it might take two or three years. "We've been telling them that science can be exciting and cool, and that they should dream big and follow their dream", Damari said.