Isarael’s Beresheet spacecraft was the country’s very first moon lander and would have put the nation on the same list as the U.S, Russia and China, if only the vehicle would have successfully landed down on the lunar surface.
Unfortunately, SpaceL, the private, non-government group that was in charge of the operation, did not manage to fulfill the mission, which took place on Thursday – Beresheet’s engine suddenly cut out and the ground team lost all communication. The lander crashed down on the lunar surface shortly after.
Even so, moments before its untimely demise, Bersheet did turn its cameras towards the Moon and snapped one final, breathtaking image.
NASA applauded the mission regardless and tweeted that it congratulates “SpaceIL, Israel Aerospace Industries and the state of Israel on the accomplishment of sending the first privately funded mission into lunar orbit.”
While the spacecraft did not finalize its mission, it did mark the first time a private spacecraft was able to position itself into lunar orbit and made Israel into the seventh nation who successfully did so.