A new program from National Geographic delves into the Israeli Beresheet mission that attempted to land on the surface of the moon.
''Rookie Moonshot: Budget Mission To The Moon'' airs tonight (April 25) at 9 p.m. EDT/PDT.
The Beresheet spacecraft launched in late February 2019 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. From mission control in Yehud, Israel, team members followed the robotic mission's steady approach towards the moon. The goal was to land on the lunar northern hemisphere, on a site within Mare Serenitatis. But as Beresheet finally attempted a landing on April 11, 2019, it suffered a technical glitch and crashed into the moon.
The series covers the project's beginnings up to their descent. The program shows viewers the early project notes that the three engineers behind the Beresheet mission —— Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub —— wrote down at a bar. They went on to form SpaceIL when they got financial backing from billionaire businessman Morris Kahn. The spacecraft is the result of a partnership between SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries.
The footage in the program also follows Beresheet's final moments, as experienced by the members of mission control.
Kahn, who is also the president of SpaceIL, confirmed days after the mission's failed lunar descent that Israel may attempt a second Beresheet mission in the future.
"Rookie Moonshot: Budget Mission To The Moon" airs tonight on the National Geographic Channel at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
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