Israel’s Beresheet lunar lander fails to make first maneuvers

Shane McGlaun - Feb 27, 2019, 6:57 am CST
Israel’s Beresheet lunar lander fails to make first maneuvers

A couple of days ago we talked about the Israeli Beresheet lunar lander that had taken off atop a SpaceX rocket. The rover was set at the time to make its first maneuvers post-launch to get it on the correct trajectory to reach the moon. That maneuver was scheduled for 5 p.m. EST on Tuesday.

The maneuver hit a glitch and didn’t go as planned for the rover. SpaceIL representatives have reported that during the pre-maneuver phase of operations, the computer aboard the spacecraft reset unexpectedly. That resetting caused the maneuver to be canceled automatically.

SpaceIL says that teams are examining the data in an attempt to determine what caused the computer to reset. Spacecraft systems are said to be working regularly, except for a known issue in the star tracker. The spacecraft uses the star tracker to locate itself in space with respect to chosen target stars.

SpaceIL notes that after missing the maneuver, the spacecraft is now back in communication with the control center. Beresheet is continuing its orbit until the window for the next maneuver. There is no indication that the glitch will jeopardize the mission.

The goal is to place the rover on the surface of the moon where it will spend two Earth days taking photos and measurements. Beresheet was originally for the Google Lunar X Prize, which ended with no winner, but SpaceIL chose to push on.

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