Beresheet crashes on Moon after IMU reset glitch cuts landing engine

by | Apr 12, 2019 | exploration, Satellites, Science, Seradata News, Technology

The Israeli privately-financed SpaceIL Beresheet (B’reshit) unmanned lunar landing probe has crashed on the Moon following a complication that caused its landing engine to be cut off at a key moment.

Having hitched a paid-for ride on a Falcon 9 launch on 22 February, and weighing 585 kg at launch, the IAI-built Beresheet raised its initial transfer orbit in stages to eventually reach the Moon on 4 April. Once there, an engine burn let the spacecraft achieve lunar orbit. The spacecraft then slowly lowered its lunar orbit until it was only 200 x 16 km around the Moon.

Then, at 1912 GMT on 11 April, the Beresheet lander began a final burn in an attempt to land from an altitude of 26 km. However, the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) temporarily failed at 14 km altitude above the Moon. A ground command to reset the IMU inadvertently triggered a chain of events that caused the main engine to be cut off. A restart was attempted but it was too late to prevent a crash. The impact at circa 300 miles per hour (500 KPH) occurred at 1923 GMT and the spacecraft was lost.

Beresheet had been designed to take magnetic readings from the Moon using a magnetometer. It also carried a camera for capturing pictures of the Lunar surface, a video camera for the landing sequence and a retro-reflector for laser tracking, and a time-capsule of digital files.

Beresheet should have looked like this at landing. Courtesy: SpaceIL

 

SeraData
Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Shavit rocket launches Israeli Ofeq 16 reconnaissance satellite

Israel has launched a military reconnaissance satellite called Ofeq 16 (Ofek 16) at 0100 GMT on 6 July 2020 from Read more

Spacecom set to be bought by Chinese conglomerate for US$285m

On 24 August, the major shareholders of the Israeli Fixed Service Satellite (FSS) operator, Spacecom (Space Communications), announced that they Read more

From Goddard to Global Strike

Hyperbola is a technology orientated spaceflight blog by Flight's technical reporter Rob Coppinger

ESA finally commits to reusable Italian-led Space Rider “space plane” prototype…as it also plans reusable rocket stage

On 9 December 2020 ESA (European Space Agency) placed an order with Italian suppliers for an reusable lifting body called Read more

Spaceship prototype SN8 flies well…well right up until the explosive crash landing

In what most independent observers judged to be a successful test flight (well, for most of it), the Starship prototype Read more

Momentus gets order for Ardoride ride to Moon

Momentus, a firm building a new concept in inter-orbital transportation, has signed a deal with Canadensys Aerospace  Corporation to launch Read more

ESA awards first Earth observation Scout-class mission to GomSpace and RAL Space

The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded the first of its "Scout" missions which aim to use small sats to Read more

ClearSpace SA receives ESA contract to develop its first debris removal mission

On 26 November a team led by ClearSpace SA has been awarded an satellite development contract, valued at EUR€86m (US$102.4m). Read more

Cookies & Privacy

Click here to read about use of cookies on the website

Categories

Archives