Israel’s SpaceIL Secures Funds For New Lunar Mission

JERUSALEM — Israel’s SpaceIL, a non-profit Israeli organization whose spacecraft crashed on the moon two years ago, said on Sunday that it had received $70 million in financing to try a second lunar landing.

With the latest commitments, SpaceIL claims to have received nearly all of the $100 million it thinks is required to achieve the mission’s 2024 launch deadline.

The money will come from South African-Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn, French-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi, and South African philanthropist Martin Moshal, co-founder of venture capital company Entree Capital, according to SpaceIL.

In April 2019, the first “Beresheet,” or “Genesis,” spacecraft, manufactured by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries, crashed into the moon minutes before impact, falling short of being the first privately financed lunar landing.

The spacecraft encountered a series of technological failures, according to the Davidson Institute, a part of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science research institution. Damage to the star trackers, a sort of navigation instrument, computer system failure, and engine failure were among the issues.

The next project, dubbed Beresheet 2, was originally announced in late 2020, and it aims to break new world records by landing twice on the moon and deploying the lightest lunar landers ever, each weighing 60 kg (132 pounds) without fuel.

The mission will consist of three spacecraft: an orbiter and two landers, with the goal of becoming just the second to safely land on the far side of the moon after China.

The mothership orbiter is expected to stay in space for years, acting as a platform for educational scientific activities via a remote link that allows students from all around the world to take part in deep-space research.

“Because the Beresheet project is my life’s goal, I chose to restart it. “I intend to do all in my power to return Israel to the moon, this time for a historic double landing,” said Kahn, who also serves as chairman of SpaceIL.

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