Israel Will Try Land Spacecraft on the Moon Again, Chief Backer Says

Morris Kahn, who helped fund the mission that attempted to land on the moon but crashed, announces plans for Beresheet 2 underway

Israelis look at a picture of the spacecraft Beresheet, at the Planetaya  Planetarium in the Israeli city of Netanya, on April 11, 2019 before it crashed during the landing.
JACK GUEZ / AFP

Another Israeli spacecraft will make an attempt to land on the moon, businessman Morris Kahn said Saturday, days after the Beresheet moon lander lost its main engine and crashed on the lunar surface.

Kahn, the main financial backer of the Beresheet moon shot, announced plans for Beresheet 2 on Channel 12's "Meet the Press," saying he had decided that "we started something and we need to finish it. We will reach the moon and we will put the Israeli flag on the moon." A task force would begin work the following day, he said.  

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Beresheet was developed by SpaceIL, an Israeli organization, and was the world's first privately funded moon lander. Its landing began as planned, but after initiating landing protocol, the control room said it lost contact with one of the landing detectors when the spacecraft was less than ten kilometers from the surface.

The landing event was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who addressed Kahn after the crash and said, "If first you don't succeed, try again. We've reached the moon, but we want to land more peacefully."

Netanyahu said the attempt itself was a great achievement, and that if "we persist, we will be the fourth country to land on the moon."

A handout picture released by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) on March 5, 2019, shows a picture taken by the camera of the Israel Beresheet spacecraft, of the Earth during a slow spin of the spacecraft from a distance of 37,600 km (23363.5 miles)
AFP PHOTO / HO / Israeli Aerospace Industries

"We didn't succeed, but we undoubtedly tried. The achievement of reaching where we did is tremendous," Kahn said, who told Netanyahu before the landing maneuver began that he's considering initiating a national Israeli space program.