Getting so very close to being the first successful landing of an Israeli spacecraft on our Moon meant Israel MUST try again. As such, the team at SpaceIL announced this weekend that they would indeed be making another attempt. The possibility that they’d get back up and running so soon was made possible in part by the Lunar XPRIZE Foundation.
The original Beresheet spacecraft was made in part to compete in a race to the moon with Google Lunar XPRIZE. Because they, and the rest of the contestants, did not quite get there in time, Google removed themselves a bit from the competition and the Lunar XPRIZE Foundation took over in their stead – so to speak. Since then, they’ve watched SpaceIL with great interest, seeing them continue on despite the change in prize from the original group.
While SpaceIL did not successfully land a craft on the moon (not in one piece, anyway), they did get most of the way without any major issue. As their craft did, actually, really reach the lunar surface, they are getting the reward from XPRIZE as promised.
A $1-million USD starting pot of cash is good, but they’ll need a whole lot more. SpaceIL Chairman Morris Kahn donated $42-million to the $100-million cost of the mission. He spoke up almost immediately after the first craft crashed, saying they were certainly going to try again.
It’s not clear whether the second mission will still cost the same amount as the first, but the ballpark seems to be in play.
“This team’s ability to build a lunar lander for $100 million and less than 50 engineers is remarkable, a leap forward towards affordable and accessible space exploration.,” said Peter H. Diamandis, executive chairman and founder of XPRIZE. “As a testament to the team’s passion and persistence, we are presenting this $1 million Moonshot Award to the SpaceIL team at our annual Visioneering Summit in October 2019, with the hope that they will use these funds as seed money towards their education outreach or Beresheet 2.0, a second attempt to fulfill the mission.”