(CNN)Israel’s Beresheet, the first privately-funded assignment to the moon, has shrunk.
The spacecraft aimed to perform a soft landing on the moon and would have made Israel the fourth country to do this — by far the smallest. Only the USA, the former Soviet Union and China have done it.
“I’m sorry to state our spacecraft didn’t make it in one piece into the heavens,” said Opher Doron, the director of Israel Aerospace Industries’ Space Section.
“We left it all the way to the moon. This is a great accomplishment. We’re the country to create it all the way into the moon”
The 100 million spacecraft, built by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries, lost communications with the control room in Israel during the landing order. They also dealt with problems in the spacecraft’s most important engine, as program managers who’d been observing the assignment in time attempted to re-establish communications.
At the time of the communications failure, the Beresheet was traveling at approximately two 110 miles and was approximately 120 km (roughly 74 kilometers ) from the intended landing website.
“There’s a suspicion that we didn’t land on the moon in the best fashion. We’re attempting to describe the matter,” a member of the SpaceIL team tracking the landing series said.
The spacecraft crashed in the last portion of its journey, minutes before it was likely to land.
SpaceIL was set up eight years ago to compete to get its Google Lunar XPrize. The competition offered $20 million to the first privately funded team to establish a spacecraft to the moon, transmit high profile video and traveling 500 meters in any way.
The XPrize was cancelled in January 2018 however the Israeli team made a decision to keep its pursuit of the moon landing.
The Beresheet spacecraft was launched on board a Falcon 9 rocket in late February. A total of 4 thousand miles traveled to the moon, before entering orbit round the 22, sinking\.